Can standard anterior Smith-Robinson supramanubrial approach be utilized for approach down to T2 or T3?
The aim of this study was to determine a plain radiographic criterion for determining the feasibility of using the standard anterior Smith-Robinson supramanubrial approach for anterior surgery down to T2 or T3.
The surgical database (2002–2014) was searched to identify patients with anterior cervical surgery to T2 or T3. A method to determine whether a standard anterior Smith-Robinson approach can be used to operate on the upper thoracic levels was evaluated. The surgeon chose the surgical approach preoperatively using a lateral radiograph by determining if a line from the intended skin incision to the lower instrumented level (LIV) passed above the top of the manubrium. If so, a standard Smith-Robinson approach was selected. Another spine surgeon then analyzed all patients who had anterior thoracic fusion to T2 or below. The lateral radiographs were retrospectively reviewed.
A total of 44 patients who underwent anterior surgery down to T2 or T3 vertebrae were identified. T2 was the LIV in 39 patients. T3 was the LIV in five patients. No surgery was abandoned or converted to a difference approach after making the standard Smith-Robinson approach. To increase visualization, T1 corpectomy was necessary in 4 of 39 patients when T2 was the LIV. T2 corpectomy was necessary in 2 of 5 patients when T3 was the LIV.
If a line from the intended skin incision to the LIV passes over the top of the manubrium, a standard Smith-Robinson approach without sternotomy can be successfully used.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00586-016-4631-0
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