Minimally invasive approach to the cervical spine: a proposal

P Miccoli, P Berti, Marco Raffaelli, G Materazzi, M Conte, A. Faldini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND andPURPOSE: During the last 3 years, a minimally invasive video-assisted approach for parathyroidectomy and thyroidectomy has been developed. Because of the good exposure of the cervical spine during these procedures, the authors decided to perform an anatomic-radiologic study in order to evaluate which cervical vertebrae could be reached by this minimally invasive approach. PATIENTS and METHODS: Three consenting patients, two undergoing minimally invasive parathyroidectomy and one a conventional operation for C4-C5 disc herniation, were selected for this study. The procedure was carried out through a single 1.5-cm central skin incision above the sternal notch. After opening of the cervical linea alba, dissection was performed under endoscopic vision, without using any CO2 insufflation or trocar. After exposure of the prevertebral fascia, an operative tube was introduced through the cervical incision in order to maintain the operative space without using conventional retractors. RESULTS: Through this operative tube, it was possible to introduce both a 5-mm (or 3-mm) endoscope and the surgical instruments. In our patients, we inserted a 1-mm metal probe to exactly localize during fluoroscopy the vertebrae reached by the dissection (C2-C7). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows the feasibility of an anterior minimally invasive approach to the cervical spine. Although the exact indications have to be verified, a video-assisted approach could add some advantages to the well-known benefits coming from the anterior approaches to the cervical spine, especially in terms of cosmetic results and postoperative course and recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-92
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Cervical Vertebrae
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement
  • Parathyroidectomy
  • Surgical Procedures, Minimally Invasive
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video-Assisted Surgery


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