Translaminar screw fixation in the upper thoracic spine

Ryan M. Kretzer*, Daniel M. Sciubba, Carlos A. Bagley, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ira M. Garonzik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Object. The use of pedicle screws (PSs) for instrument-assisted fusion in the cervical and thoracic spine has increased in recent years, allowing smaller constructs with improved biomechanical stability and repositioning possibilities. In the smaller pedicles of the upper thoracic spine, the placement of PSs can be challenging and may increase the risk of damage to neural structures. As an alternative to PSs, translaminar screws can provide spinal stability, and they may be used when pedicular anatomy precludes successful placement of PSs. The authors describe the technique of translaminar screw placement in the T-1 and T-2 vertebrae. Methods. Seven patients underwent cervicothoracic fusion to treat trauma, neoplasm, or degenerative disease. Nineteen translaminar screws were placed, 13 at T-1 and six at T-2. A single asymptomatic T-2 screw violated the ventral laminar cortex and was removed. The mean clinical and radiographic follow up exceeded 14 months, at which time there were no cases of screw pullout, screw fracture, or progressive kyphotic deformity. Conclusions. Rigid fixation with translaminar screws offers an attractive alternative to PS fixation, allowing the creation of sound spinal constructs and minimizing potential neurological morbidity. Their use requires intact posterior elements, and care should be taken to avoid violation of the ventral laminar wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Cervical spine
  • Pedicle
  • Spinal fusion
  • Thoracic spine
  • Translaminar screw

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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