This article was updated on August 16, 2021, because of a previous error. On page 1106, the legend for Figure 2-A had been omitted and the legend for Figure 2-B appeared as a combined legend for Figures 2-A and 2-B. The legend for Figure 2-A now reads “The setting of the operating room with the thoracic and orthopaedic surgery teams operating simultaneously.” and the legend for Figure 2-B now reads “An intraoperative thoracoscopic view prior to the anterior release showing the chest wall, the spine with parietal pleura, the aorta, and the deflated lung. The asterisk indicates the extraosseous extension of a T6 chondrosarcoma.”
An erratum has been published: J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2021 September 15;103(18):e75.
In en bloc vertebrectomy, the posterior approach is associated with limited access to anterior structures (vertebral body, esophagus, aorta, azygos vein). Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) might prove to be advantageous during thoracic en bloc vertebrectomy by allowing a combined anterior-posterior access in the prone position. We describe the technique and review the outcomes of 33 cases of video-assisted thoracoscopic en bloc vertebrectomy.
A retrospective, single-center cohort study included all cases of VATS with a minimum follow-up of 1 year. A team of thoracic and orthopaedic surgeons performed the surgical procedure with the patient in a single, prone position. Anterior release was carried out thoracoscopically, followed by posterior en bloc tumor removal.
From 2003 to 2019, 33 patients were included. Nine patients underwent total vertebrectomy (8 had single-level and 1 had 3-level), and 24 patients underwent partial vertebrectomy (1 had single-level, 8 had 2-level, 13 had 3-level, and 2 had 4-level). Ten patients had pulmonary resection. Histology revealed 18 cases (55%) of primary bone tumors, 6 cases (18%) of lung cancer invading the spine, 6 cases (18%) of solitary metastasis, and 3 other cases (9%). The margins were tumor-free in 28 cases (85%). The median operative time was 240 minutes (range, 150 to 510 minutes), with a median blood loss of 1,200 mL (range, 400 to 6,700 mL), and there were 2 cases of conversion to thoracotomy. A total of 33 complications occurred in 18 patients (55%), and these were predominantly pulmonary. One death was surgery-related (infection). One patient had a persistent monoplegia. At a median follow-up of 63 months (range, 12 to 156 months), there were 21 surviving patients (64%) with 2 local recurrences and 1 distant recurrence, and 2 patients (6%) were lost to follow-up. The survival rates were 94% at 1 year, 71% at 2 years, and 68% at 5 years.
VATS en bloc vertebrectomy may be indicated for T2-to-T11 spine tumors with the exception of massive tumors, substantial chest wall and/or mediastinal invasion, and lung cancer exceeding 7 cm. The technique yielded satisfactory surgical and oncologic outcomes.
Level of Evidence:
Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.