What is a Lumbar Corpectomy?
A lumbar corpectomy, or vertebrectomy, refers to the removal and replacement of a vertebra and the intervertebral discs above and below it. This is usually done because they are compressing the spinal cord in the back.
A length of bone or synthetic cage containing bone fragments replaces the vertebra and discs to form a strut to maintain the normal height and alignment of the back. The bone graft will fuse with the vertebra above and below to form a solid, stable mass.
A corpectomy can replace a number of adjacent vertebrae, in which case an additional posterior fusion with metal screws and rods may be needed to maintain stability of the graft while it fuses.
If the front of the spinal cord is being compressed, causing pain, weakness or numbness in the arms or legs, then a corpectomy may be required.
Spinal cord compression can be caused by the vertebral body, the intervertebral disc and posterior longitudinal ligament. Diseases include infected, malignant or fractured vertebral bodies and degenerative disc disease.
The goals of a lumbar corpectomy are to remove any pressure from the adjacent spinal cord, and to stabilize the spine in a pain-free, normal alignment.