Transcostovertebral kyphoplasty of the mid and high thoracic spine


While Kyphoplasty is increasingly becoming a recognised minimally invasive treatment option for osteoporotic vertebral fractures and neoplastic vertebral collapse, the experience in the treatment of vertebrae of the mid (T5-8)- and high (T1-4) thoracic levels is limited. The slender pedicle morphology restricts the transpedicular approach at these levels, necessitating extrapedicular placement techniques. Fifty five vertebrae of 32 consecutive patients were treated with kyphoplasty at levels ranging from T2-T8 for vertebral fractures (27 patients) or osteolytic collapse (5 patients). All procedures were performed through the transcostovertebral approach under fluoroscopic guidance. The radioanatomical landmarks of this minimally invasive approach were consistently identified and strictly adhered to. One fracture required open instrumentation due to posterior column injury in addition to kyphoplasty. Identification of specific radioanatomical landmarks allowed precise tool introduction in all cases without intraspinal or paravertebral malplacement. Average operating time for patients with osteoporotic fractures was 30 min per level (range 13–60 min) and 52 min per level (range 35–95 min) in neoplastic cases. Biopsy yield in patients with known or suspected malignancies was 100%. Epidural cement leakage was detected in one patient with pedicular osteolysis. Perforation of the lateral vertebral cortex during balloon inflation occurred in another patient. Both intraoperative complications were without clinical significance. Kyphoplasty in mid- to -high thoracic levels is possible via the transcostovertebral route under fluoroscopic guidance. Strict adherence to a stepwise protocol of tool introduction following defined radioanatomical landmarks is mandatory for the safe completion of this minimally invasive technique.

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Correspondence to Bronek M Boszczyk.

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Boszczyk, B.M., Bierschneider, M., Hauck, S. et al. Transcostovertebral kyphoplasty of the mid and high thoracic spine. Eur Spine J 14, 992–999 (2005).

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  • Kyphoplasty
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Thoracic spine
  • Vertebral compression fracture