Kambin’s triangle: Definition and new classification schema

Andrew A. Fanous, Luis M. Tumialán, Michael Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Kambin’s triangle is an anatomical corridor used to access critical structures in a variety of spinal procedures. It is considered a safe space because it is devoid of vascular and neural structures of importance. Nonetheless, there is currently significant variation in the literature regarding the exact dimensions and anatomical borders of Kambin’s triangle. This confusion was originally caused by leaving the superior articular process (SAP) unassigned in the description of the working triangle, despite Kambin identifying that structure in his original report. The SAP is the most relevant structure to consider when accessing the transforaminal corridor. Leaving the SAP unassigned has led to an open-handed application of the term “Kambin’s triangle.” That single eponym currently has two potential meanings, one meaning for endoscopic surgeons working through a corridor in the intact spine and a second meaning for surgeons accessing the disc space after a complete or partial facetectomy. Nevertheless, an anatomical corridor should have one consistent definition to clearly communicate techniques and use of instrumentation performed through that space. As such, the authors propose a new surgically relevant classification of this corridor. Assigning the SAP a border requires adding another dimension to the triangle, thereby transforming it into a prism. The term “Kambin’s prism” indicates the assignment of a border to all relevant anatomical structures, allowing for a uniform definition of the 3D space. From there, the classification scheme considers the expansion of the corridor and the extent of bone removal, with a particular focus on the SAP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-398
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Anatomy
  • Lumbar
  • Minimally invasive
  • Percutaneous
  • Spine
  • Surgical technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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