Management of single-level thoracic disc herniation through a modified transfacet approach: A review of 86 patients

Samir Kashyap, Andrew G. Webb, Elizabeth A. Friis, Paul M. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Symptomatic thoracic disc herniation (TDH) is rare and does not typically resolve with conservative management. Traditional surgical management is the transthoracic approach; however, this approach can carry significant risk. Posterolateral approaches are less invasive, but no single approach has proven to be more effective than the other results are often dependent on surgeon experience with a particular approach, as well as the location and characteristics of the disc herniation. Methods: This was retrospective review of a prospectively collected database. Eighty-six patients with TDH treated surgically through the modified transfacet approach were reviewed and evaluated for pain improvement, Nurick grade, and neurological symptoms. Patients were followed for 12 months postoperatively; estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, hospital course, and postoperative complications were also assessed. Results: All attempts at disc resection were successful. Most patients reported improvement in pain, sensory involvement, and strength. Seventy-nine patients had complete resolution of their symptoms while four patients had unchanged symptoms. Three patients experienced mild neurologic worsening postoperatively, but this resolved back to baseline. One patient experienced myelopathy during the postoperative period that resolved with steroid administration. The procedure was well tolerated with minimal complications. Conclusion: TDH can be managed surgically through a variety of approaches. The selection of approach is dependent on surgeon experience with an approach, the patient s health, and the location and type of disc. The transfacet approach is safe and efficacious.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number338
JournalSurgical Neurology International
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Pedicle sparing
  • Thoracic disc herniation
  • Transfacet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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