The utility of ultrasound for surgical spinal decompression

Ahmed Alaqeel, Hussam Abou Al-Shaar, Alaa Alaqeel, Amro Al-Habib


Surgery is routinely performed to decompress the spinal cord. While a number of imaging modalities are currently used in the perioperative setting of surgical spinal cord decompression including computed tomography scan and magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound (US) usage is relatively new. Therefore, only a few studies in the literature describe its value in the periop- erative setting. US is a simple, safe, rapid, non-invasive, and inexpensive modality that constitutes a potential alternative when other modalities are not suitable or unavailable. It enables surgeons to generate high-resolution real-time images that can aid in diagnosing pathologies, guiding surgeries, and evaluating surgical outcomes. This review discusses the present literature and utility of pre-, intra-, and post-operative US in patients undergoing surgical spinal decompression. We also delineate three cases in which US was utilized at King Saud University hospital, which is considered one of the first centers in our region to report the use of US to guide treatment in spine surgery.


spinal cord; compression; surgical decompression; ultrasound

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