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Quantitative and qualitative analyses of spinal canal encroachment during cervical laminectomy using the kerrison rongeur versus High-Speed burr.

TitleQuantitative and qualitative analyses of spinal canal encroachment during cervical laminectomy using the kerrison rongeur versus High-Speed burr.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLin JD, Tan LA, Tuchman A, Li XJoshua, Zhang H, Ren K, K Riew D
JournalBr J Neurosurg
Date Published2019 Apr
KeywordsCervical Vertebrae, Decompression, Surgical, Equipment Design, Humans, Laminectomy, Models, Anatomic, Neurosurgical Procedures, Risk, Spinal Canal, Spinal Cord Injuries, Spinal Stenosis, Surgeons, Surgical Instruments

BACKGROUND: Several cervical laminectomy techniques have been described. One commonly used method involves making bilateral trough laminotomies using either a Kerrison rongeur or a high speed burr, and then removing the lamina en-bloc. Alternatively, some surgeons prefer to thin the lamina with the burr, and then remove the lamina in a piecemeal fashion using Kerrison rongeurs. Some surgeons have warned against the potential risk of iatrogenic spinal cord injury from inserting the Kerrison footplate into a stenotic canal. We aim to quantify the amount of canal encroachment for various methods of cervical laminectomies.

METHODS: Three attending spine surgeons and two fellows each performed laminectomies using C5 sawbones models. The canal was completely filled with modeling putty to simulate a stenotic spinal cord. Bilateral trough laminotomies were performed using a 1 mm Kerrison, a 2 mm Kerrison, and a 3 mm matchstick high-speed burr. Piecemeal laminectomies were performed with a 2 mm Kerrison. A blinded spine surgery fellow performed all quantitative measurements. Three blinded researchers qualitatively ranked the amount of "canal encroachment".

RESULTS: The average canal encroachment was 0.50 ± 0.45mm for the burr, 1.37 ± 0.68 mm for the 1 mm Kerrison, and 1.47 ± 0.37 mm for the 2 mm Kerrison (p = .002). There was a statistically significant difference between the burr and 1 mm Kerrison (p = .01) and between the burr and the 2 mm Kerrison (p = .001). There was no statistical difference between the 1 mm and 2 mm Kerrison (p = .78). The mean rank of the burr group, the Kerrison rongeur group, and the piecemeal group were 1.41, 1.94, and 2.65, respectively, on an ordinal scale of 1-3.

CONCLUSION: When performing a trough laminotomy, the high-speed burr results in less canal encroachment compared to 1 mm or 2 mm Kerrison rongeurs. In the setting of a stenotic spinal canal, spine surgeons should consider using the burr to perform laminectomy to minimize the degree of canal encroachment.

Alternate JournalBr J Neurosurg
PubMed ID30681374