The patient is positioned on a Wilson frame on a radiolucent table.
Positioning should attempt to maintain/increase lumbar kyphosis, which opens up the interlaminar and foraminal spaces.
Pearl: When performing fusion surgery, the frame's kyphosis must be removed in order to achieve a lumbar lordosis before adding the rods. If this is not done, then post-surgical flatback may occur.
It must be possible to obtain radiographic images in both AP and lateral planes at all times.
General anesthesia with endotracheal intubation is usually performed.
Antibiotics should be administered prior to incision and at two-hour intervals during the procedure.
A cephalosporin antibiotic with good Gram-positive coverage is generally recommended.
Patients with penicillin allergies should receive vancomycin or clindamycin.
Neuromonitoring is optional for most decompressive surgeries and typically includes free running and triggered EMGs. In cases where patients also have cervical or thoracic stenosis, SSEP and MEP monitoring should be considered to ensure adequate spinal cord evaluation during the surgery.
The incision can be planned based on AP and lateral fluoroscopy. Alternatively, intraoperative CT with three-dimensional navigation can be used.
The endoscopic imaging screen should be placed at the foot of the bed on the opposite side of the surgeon. The fluoroscopy screen should be placed next to this on the opposite side of the surgeon.
If a microscope is used, it should be placed on the surgeon’s side and opposite the image intensifier portion of the C-arm fluoroscope.