Peribrachiocephalic approaches to the anterior cervicothoracic spine

Kamran V. Sattarov, Salman Abbasi Fard, Apar S. Patel, Mustafa Alkadhim, Mauricio J. Avila, Christina M. Walter, Ali A. Baaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This cadaveric study aims to reexamine the corridors to the anterior cervicothoracic junction, relative to the left brachiocephalic vein, and to present these working corridors as either supra- or infra-brachiocephalic. The anterior cervicothoracic junction incorporates the seventh cervical vertebrae through the fourth thoracic vertebrae (C7-T4) and involves critical anatomical structures. Operative approaches to this area are well described in the literature, with the predominant implementation of three surgical corridors. We used three embalmed, human, cadaveric specimens for this study. No pathology involving the cervicothoracic junction was noted. While dissecting, we tried to imitate the actual surgery. For each surgical step, photographs were taken, drawing attention to the critical structures and highlighting the different corridors to the spine relative to the left brachiocephalic vein. It is possible to access the cervicothoracic junction relative to the brachiocephalic vein from the left. The supra-brachiocephalic approach gives access to the C7-T4 vertebrae, whereas if T4-T5 is the goal, the infra-brachiocephalic approach may be utilized. In the supra-brachiocephalic approach, the brachiocephalic artery can be either medialized or lateralized as needed. A re-examination of the anterior cervicothoracic junction anatomy has allowed us to classify approaches relative to the left brachiocephalic vein. Identifying and understanding the approaches relative to this structure will assist in safe and effective spinal surgery in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1822-1826
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Anterior approach
  • Brachiocephalic vein
  • Cadaveric study
  • Cervical spine
  • Cervicothoracic junction
  • Sternotomy
  • Thoracic spine manubriotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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