Posterior Surgical Approach for Ventral Cervical Spinal Cord Herniation: 2-Dimensional Operative Video

Anthony Diaz, S. Shelby Burks, Richard Fisher, Allan D. Levi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spinal cord herniation (SCH) is a rare condition that is typically of idiopathic origin. Although SCH is mostly found in the thoracic region because of a dural defect, there are some reports of cervical SCH following surgery or trauma.1-3 Spinal cord tethering can be a result of SCH or as a standalone issue.4,5 These conditions can lead to progressive neurological deficits, including numbness, gait disturbances, and decreased muscle strength, requiring surgical correction. There are limited reports of surgical procedures for ventral SCHs. Several reports exist using a ventral approach for intradural tumors, but it is not commonly employed because of the inability to obtain adequate dural closure.6 Much of the literature on SCH comes from idiopathic and congenital cases in the thoracic spine.7,8 Posterior and posterolateral approaches for a ventral thoracic SCH have been described, as well as an anterior approach for a ventral cervical SCH.9-12 In this video, we describe a posterior approach for a ventral cervical SCH. A 38-yr-old male presented with progressive cervical myelopathy 9 yr after a C2-C3 schwannoma resection requiring an anterior approach and corpectomy of C3 with partial corpectomies of C2 and C4. A preoperative magnetic resonance imaging showed a ventrally herniated spinal cord at the top of the C3 vertebral body and below the C4 vertebral body. Informed consent was obtained. The posterior surgical approach involved a C1-C5 laminectomy, sectioning the dentate ligament, ventral cord untethering, removal of residual tumor, and placement of a ventral sling. A significant improvement in sensory and motor function was observed postoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E215-E216
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • Cervical spine
  • Dentate ligament
  • Spinal cord herniation
  • Untethering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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