Anterior thoracic spine reconstruction using a titanium mesh cage and pedicled rib flap

Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Stephen L. Ondra, Aruna Ganju, Hakim K. Said, Julius W. Few, John C. Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


STUDY DESIGN. A retrospective clinical study. OBJECTIVES. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of using an integrated titanium mesh cage and pedicled rib flap for thoracic spine reconstruction in patients at high risk of pseudarthrosis. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA. A variety of materials are available for interbody thoracic reconstruction; however, the optimal treatment of patients at high risk of pseudarthrosis remains a challenging problem. Free or pedicled bone flaps have been shown to be highly effective in terms of promoting fusion and titanium mesh cages provide excellent structural support. METHODS. Eleven patients who underwent anterior thoracic corpectomy and spinal reconstruction using an integrated titanium mesh cage and pedicled rib flap were analyzed with a mean follow-up of 37 months (range, 25-55 months). The etiology of spinal disease was infection in 7 (64%) patients and tumor in the remaining 4 (36%) patients. Seven (64%) patients were treated with only an anterior approach while the remaining 4 (36%) patients underwent circumferential spinal reconstruction. RESULTS. All patients demonstrated clinical and radiographic evidence of spinal fusion at the time of follow-up. All patients had stable or improved Frankel grades after surgery. There was a mean kyphosis correction of 7° for both the focal and regional thoracic kyphosis. There were three significant postoperative complications: bilateral pleural effusion, gram-negative bacteremia, and transient right lower extremity weakness requiring reoperation and pedicle screw revision. Two patients died after surgery: one from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage and the other from complications of breast cancer. CONCLUSIONS. The use of an integrated rib flap and titanium mesh cage construct appears to be a safe and effective means of providing immediate and substantial anterior column support as well as achieving arthrodesis in challenging fusion candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1820-1827
Number of pages8
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


  • Osteomyelitis
  • Spine metastases
  • Thoracic spine
  • Titanium mesh cage
  • Vascularized graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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