Minimally Invasive Tubular Separation Surgery for Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression: 2-Dimensional Operative Video

Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Murray Echt, Yaroslav Gelfand, Vijay Yanamadala, Reza Yassari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Symptomatic cord compression affects approximately 20% of patients with spinal metastatic disease. Direct decompressive surgery followed by conventional radiation was shown to be superior to radiation alone in a landmark trial published in 2005.1 For radioresistant tumors causing high-grade compression, however, "separation surgery" followed by stereotactic body radiation therapy was developed. The main goal of this newer technique is to decompress and create a distance between the spinal cord and tumor to allow for safe delivery of radiation.2 This technique has shown to provide durable local tumor control, pain relief, and preservation of neurological function.3,4 In this study, we describe a minimally invasive tubular separation surgery technique used to treat symptomatic cord compression in a 59-yr-old man with metastatic prostate adenocarcinoma to T9. The patient presented with acute motor weakness and sensory level. A tubular retraction system was used to dock over the pedicle at T9 bilaterally and a posterior decompression with ligamentectomy was first performed. This was followed by transpedicular decompression and ventral removal of the posterior longitudinal ligament. Space was created between the ventral tumor and spinal cord to allow for postoperative stereotactic body radiation. The patient had a significant improvement in his strength and gait postoperatively. Patient consent was obtained for videotaping prior to surgical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E356
JournalOperative neurosurgery (Hagerstown, Md.)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 15 2021


  • Metastatic cord compression
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Separation surgery
  • Spinal tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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