Laminotomy for lumbar dorsal root ganglion access and injection in swine

Mark D. Unger, Timothy P. Maus, Ross C. Puffer, Laura K. Newman, Bradford L. Currier, Andreas S. Beutler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are anatomically well defined structures that contain all primary sensory neurons below the head. This fact makes DRG attractive targets for injection of novel therapeutics aimed at treating chronic pain. In small animal models, laminectomy has been used to facilitate DRG injection because it involves surgical removal of the vertebral bone surrounding each DRG. We demonstrate a technique for intraganglionic injection of lumbar DRG in a large animal species, namely, swine. Laminotomy is performed to allow direct access to DRG using standard neurosurgical techniques, instruments, and materials. Compared with more extensive bone removal via laminectomy, we implement laminotomy to conserve spinal anatomy while achieving sufficient DRG access. Intraoperative progress of DRG injection is monitored using a non-toxic dye. Following euthanasia on post-operative day 21, the success of injection is determined by histology for intraganglionic distribution of 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). We inject a biologically inactive solution to demonstrate the protocol. This method could be applied in future preclinical studies to target therapeutic solutions to DRG. Our methodology should facilitate testing the translatability of intraganglionic small animal paradigms in a large animal species. Additionally, this protocol may serve as a key resource for those planning preclinical studies of DRG injection in swine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56434
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number128
StatePublished - Oct 10 2017


  • Convection enhanced delivery
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Intraganglionic injection
  • Laminotomy
  • Large animal
  • Swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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