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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 873726, 5 pages
Research Article

Lateral Surgical Approach to Lumbar Intervertebral Discs in an Ovine Model

1The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR), Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia
2Department of Neurosurgery, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia
3Department of Neurosurgery, The Alfred Hospital, Prahran, VIC 3181, Australia
4Proteobioactives Research Laboratories, Brookvale, NSW 2100, Australia
5Monash Animal Services, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia

Received 26 July 2012; Accepted 28 August 2012

Academic Editors: L. Pimenta, W. B. Rodgers, W. Taylor, and J. Uribe

Copyright © 2012 David Oehme et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The sheep is becoming increasingly used as a large animal model for preclinical spine surgery studies. Access to the ovine lumbar intervertebral discs has traditionally been via an anterior or anterolateral approach, which requires larger wound incisions and, at times, significant abdominal retraction. We present a new minimally invasive operative technique for a far-lateral approach to the ovine lumbar spine that allows for smaller incisions, excellent visualisation of intervertebral discs, and minimal abdominal retraction and is well tolerated by animals with minimal morbidity.