Endoscopic surgery for thoracic spine: critical review

After the development of video-assisted technology, endoscopic techniques have assumed an important therapeutic role into thoracic cavity. This is a literature review article to show the current state of the endoscopy for thoracic spine. Disc herniations, deformities, infections, tumors, congenital disorders and traumatic events have been treated by endoscopic techniques. On reviewing the literature, the advantages over open approaches are: enhanced visualization, shorter recovery time and decreased blood loss, costs, infection rate and post operative morbidity. Some disadvantages are: one lung anesthesia, significant learning curve, and technical problems in operating on small children, repairing the dura and performing instrumentation. Overall benefits are apparently clear. However, despite the high degree of enthusiasm, authors are cautious to state that endoscopic techniques to the spine already represent a definitive alternative to standard techniques. Comparison between endoscopic and open approaches are still difficult because of the lack of appropriate comparative studies. Authors, although optimistic recommend more prospective, multicentric and randomized studies in order to stand a definitive conclusion.

endoscopy; thoracoscopy; thoracic spine

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