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Clinical Outcomes After Cervical Transcorporeal Microdecompression and Vertebral Body Access Channel Repair

David W. Lowry, MD,1 Scott M. Tuinstra, PA-C,1 Kevin Liang Ph.D,2 Joseph A. Sclafani MD2

1The Brain and Spine Center, Holland, MI, USA 2Milestone Research Organization, San Diego, CA



Although anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) can be performed using minimally invasive techniques, the extensive removal of anatomical keystones during decompression requires a segmental fusion to restore biomechanical stability. Treatment with arthrodesis techniques may result in a prolonged recovery time, loss of motion, and the need for further treatment if a pseudarthosis or adjacent segment disease occur. Transcorporeal micro decompression (TCMD) is a newly developed motion sparing, minimally invasive anterior cervical spine decompression procedure that utilizes a small channel through the cervical vertebral body to decompress areas of central or foraminal stenosis while preserving the native disc. Cervical decompression with TCMD can be performed as a stand-alone or hybrid procedure with ACDF at the adjacent levels. This study retrospectively assesses patient based clinical outcome measures in patients treated with TCMD.


A retrospective, non-randomized, single-center chart review of single surgeon experience with patients undergoing TCMD both with and without adjacent level ACDF using both a trajectory control guide and access channel repair. Statistical analyses were performed on pre and post-operative data collected using visual analog scale (VAS) and neck disability index (NDI) outcome measures.


Among 62 patients, there were no cases of neurovascular injury, CSF leak, transfusion, or migration of repair implement. Revision surgery was required in 6.4% (n=4) patients. A subanalysis of outcome metrics was performed for patients that underwent standalone TCMD (TCMD group, n=42) and TCMD with concurrent ACDF at one or more levels (TCMD+ACDF group, n=20). TCMD group NDI improved from 20.0 to 2.7 at 1 year (p = 0.0001); Axial VAS improved from 5.5 to 0.6 (p = 0.0001); and Radiating VAS improved from 7.0 to 0.7 (p = 0.0001).TCMD+ACDF group NDI improved from 22.0 to 4.0 at 1 year (p = 0.004); Axial VAS improved from 7.1 to 1.2 (p = 0.01); and Radiating VAS trended towards significant improvement from 6.4 to 2.3 (p = 0.09). Mean return to work was 10 days in the TCMD group and 57 days in the TCMD+ACDF group.


Within the limits of a retrospective, single-surgeon study, patients did experience both functional improvement and pain relief as measured by NDI and VAS respectively from standalone TCMD or combined ACDF / TCMD procedures. Definitive statements on long-term efficacy, disc space preservation, and motion preservation await further study.

minimally invasive spine surgery, motion preservation, clinical outcome, Anterior Cervical Decompression
Volume 9 Article 10