Thoracoscopic Placement of Dual-rod Instrumentation in Thoracic Spinal Trauma

Eric M. Horn, Jeffrey S. Henn, G. Michael Lemole, Jonathan S. Hott, Curtis A. Dickman, Edward C. Benzel, Vincent C. Traynelis, Hoang N. Le, Daniel Kim, William E. Krauss, Richard G. Fessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE AND IMPORTANCE: Traditionally, thoracic fractures that require anterior stabilization are treated through an open thoracotomy approach. Thoracoscopic instrumentation avoids many of the complications associated with an open thoracotomy but is technically challenging. We report the first cases of dual-rod internal fixation systems placed thoracoscopically for thoracic spinal trauma. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: Two male patients sustained midthoracic spinal trauma falling from motorcycles in separate incidents. Both injuries led to unstable spinal columns, but the patients had no neurological deficits and had minimal spinal cord compression. One patient had a complex spiral fracture from T6 to T8; the other had T7 burst and T8 compression fractures. Based on the complex morphological features of the patients' fractures, anterior internal fixation was the treatment of choice for both. The two available options for an anterior stabilization were open thoracotomy and thoracoscopic instrumentation. Because extensive decompression was unnecessary, a thoracoscopic approach was used. INTERVENTION: A dual-rod internal fixation system (Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., Memphis, TN) was placed with two screws each in the T6 and T9 vertebral bodies of each patient. Thoracoscopy was used for direct visualization of the operative site with fluoroscopic guidance for screw placement. Surgery was completed without complications, and both patients did well afterward. Upright and supine x-rays demonstrated that the constructs were stable at 10 weeks and 6 months, respectively. CONCLUSION: Thoracoscopic instrumentation offers the advantages of a minimally invasive approach but is technically challenging. The characteristics of dual-rod fixation systems (small-profile components and step-wise insertion) provide the best biomechanical profile and facilitate thoracoscopic instrumentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1150-1154
Number of pages5
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Endoscopy
  • Spinal fusion
  • Thoracic fracture
  • Vertebral body

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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