Recapping T-saw laminoplasty for spinal cord tumors

N Kawahara, K Tomita, Y Shinya, T Matsumoto, H Baba, T Fujita, H Murakami, T Kobayashi
Spine 1999 July 1, 24 (13): 1363-70

STUDY DESIGN: A prospective study of patients whose spinal cord tumors were managed surgically with a unique posterior method of removing and replacing the posterior spinal elements using T-saw ("recapping T-saw laminoplasty").

OBJECTIVES: To examine the safety and efficacy of the recapping T-saw laminoplasty technique for spinal canal surgery.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Laminectomy, laminoplasty, and/or laminotomy typically are used to approach intraspinal lesions. When removal and replacement of the posterior elements have been attempted, the effectiveness of the technique has been limited by the amount of bone sacrificed when using burrs or osteotomes. The authors thought to adapt a unique "threadwire saw" (T-saw) in these cases, because its use results in minimal bone loss.

METHODS: Patients underwent recapping T-saw laminoplasty in the thoracic or lumbar spine for extirpation of spinal cord tumors. The T-saw was used for division of the posterior elements. After resection of the lesion, the excised laminae were replaced exactly in situ to their original anatomic position. The mean follow-up period was 47 months (range, 31-71 months). Patients were observed neurologically and radiologically.

RESULTS: One to eight laminae were excised and replaced in 24 patients. Findings on computed tomography scans confirmed primary bony union in 23 patients by 6 months after surgery, and in one patient by 12 months after surgery. No complications such as postoperative spinal canal stenosis, facet arthrosis, or kyphosis were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Recapping laminoplasty afforded anatomic reconstruction of the vertebral arch after excision of spinal cord tumors. This procedure appears to warrant further evaluation as an alternative to wide laminectomies for exposure of intraspinal tumors.

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