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In Neurosurgical focus ; h5-index 45.0

OBJECTIVE : The purpose of this study was to describe the evolution of thoracoscopic spine surgery from basic endoscopic procedures using fluoroscopy and anatomical localization through developmental iterations to the current technology use in which endoscopy and image-guided surgery are merged with intraoperative CT scanning.

METHODS : The authors provided detailed explanations of their thoracoscopic spine surgery techniques, beginning with their early-generation endoscopy with fluoroscopic localization, which was followed with point surface matching techniques and early image guidance. The authors supplanted this with the modern era of image guidance, thoracoscopic spine surgery, and seamless integration that has reached its current level of refinement.

RESULTS : A retrospective review of single-institution thoracoscopic procedures performed by the senior author over the course of 19 years yielded a total of 160 patients, including 73 women and 87 men. The mean patient age was 55 years, and the range included patients 16-94 years of age. There were no patients with worsened neurological function. One hundred sixteen patients underwent surgery for thoracic disc herniation, 18 for underlying neoplasms with spinal cord compression, 14 for osteomyelitis and discitis, 12 for thoracic deformity with neurological changes, and 8 for traumatic etiologies.

CONCLUSIONS : More than 19 years of experience has revealed the benefits of integrating thoracoscopic spine surgery with intraoperative CT scanning and image-guided surgery, including direct decompression without manipulation of neural elements, superior 3D spatial orientation, and localization of complex spinal anatomy. With the exponential growth of machine learning, robotics, artificial intelligence, and advances in imaging techniques and endoscopic imaging, there may be further refinements of this technique on the horizon.

Hanna George, Kim Terrence T, Uddin Syed-Abdullah, Ross Lindsey, Johnson J Patrick


IGS, VATS, endoscopic thoracic discectomy, image-guided endoscopic spine surgery, minimally invasive thoracoscopy, stereotactic navigation, video-assisted thoracoscopic spine surgery