Multi-level corpectomies and reconstruction via a single posterolateral approach

Ryan P. Brennan, Thomas J. Altstadt, Richard B. Rodgers, Eric M. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The surgical treatment of ventral spinal canal compression has traditionally required either an anterior or combined anterior-posterior decompression and stabilization. These types of approaches carry a significant morbidity and may not be appropriate for all patients. We report our experience with multi-level corpectomies and reconstruction performed via a single, posterolateral approach. A retrospective review was performed of six consecutive patients at a single institution who were treated for ventral multi-level spinal cord compression via a single posterolateral approach. All six patients underwent reconstruction and stabilization with an expandable cage and posterior fixation. Five patients had metastatic cancer with spinal cord compression and one patient had osteomyelitis with a ventral epidural abscess and vertebral body collapse. All patients underwent 2-level corpectomies. Pre-operative and post-operative neurologic function and stabilization construct integrity were analyzed. All patients had successful decompression and stabilization and there were no hardware complications. Three peri-operative complications were encountered: post-operative pleural effusion needing thoracostomy drainage, transient leg paresis that resolved at 2 months and a post-operative wound infection needing operative debridement. At last follow-up all patients had improvement or stabilization of their neurological function. Long-term follow-up was limited by the progression of metastatic disease and death in all the patients with cancer. This study demonstrates that symptomatic improvement can be achieved in select patients requiring multi-level corpectomies when using a single posterolateral approach with expandable cage reconstruction and posterior stabilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1399-1404
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


  • Expandable cage
  • Lateral extracavitary
  • Multi-level
  • Posterior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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