Unilateral limited laminectomy as the approach of choice for the removal of thoracolumbar neurofibromas

Alfredo Pompili, Fabrizio Caroli, Fabio Cattani, Marcello Crecco, Maddalena Giovannetti, Laura Raus, Stefano Telera, Antonello Vidiri, Emanuele Occhipinti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design. The paper reports a minimally invasive approach to the dorsolumbar spine for the removal of neurofibromas. Objectives. Demonstrating that a limited unilateral approach is the one of choice for this kind of tumors. Summary and Background Data. Spinal intradural extramedullary tumors are generally removed by single-level or multilevel laminectomy with midline dural incision. Cases of delayed postoperative kyphosis and spinal instability (6%) may be reduced by unilateral microsurgery, causing minimum damage to ligaments and joints. Methods. Ten patients with dorsolumbar neurofibroma were operated on between June 2000 and June 2002. There were 5 males (all with lumbar) and 5 females (2 with lumbar and 3 with inferior dorsal neurofibromas). One female had 3 lumbar tumors and required two operations. Surgery was performed in the prone position with a unilateral approach, sparing the joint and the ligamentum interspinosum. The dura was opened paramedially and the tumor dissected from the root and removed in one piece when possible. Water-tight dural closure was done with 5-0 or 6-0 stitches. Results. All the patients were mobilized on day 2 and discharged on day 4 or day 5. No complications resulting from the technique were observed. Static and dynamic plain radiograph films showed that none of them had kyphosis and/or instability 6 months postoperatively. Neurologic results were good. Conclusions. Hospital stay may be reduced and stability may be preserved with an appropriate microsurgical technique. The technique reported in the paper should thus become the one of choice and extended to other spinal intradural extramedullary tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1698-1702
Number of pages5
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2004


  • Microneurosurgery
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Neurofibroma
  • Spinal tumor
  • Unilateral laminectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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