OBJECTIVE: We report on the technical feasibility and limitations of the transmanubrial approach for cervicothoracic junction (CTJ) lesions and emphasize the advantage of bisecting the upper part of the manubrium in an inverted Y-shape. METHODS: Thirteen patients who underwent the fourteen transmanubrial approach for various CTJ lesions were enrolled during 2005-2014. For the evaluation of the accessibility for the CTJ lesion, we analyzed the two parallel line defined as a straight line parallel to the inferior and superior plateau of the upper and lower healthy vertebrae, the angle of the two parallel lines and the distance from the sternal notch to lines at the sternum on preoperative magnetic resonance images. Surgical limitations and perspectives, as well as postoperative clinical outcomes were evaluated retrospectively. RESULTS: The CTJ lesions were six metastases, three primary bone tumors, two herniated discs, and one each of a traumatic dislocation with syrinx formation and tuberculous spondylitis and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. If two parallel lines pass below the sternal notch, the manubriotomy should be inevitably performed. The mean preoperative Visual analogue scale score was 8 (range, 5-10), which improved to 4 (range, 0-6) postoperatively. Seven cases showed an increase in Frankel score postoperatively. CONCLUSION: The spatial relationship between the sternal notch and the two parallel lines to the lesion was rational to determine the feasibility of manubriotomy. The transmanubrial approach for CTJ lesions can achieve favorable clinical outcomes by providing direct decompression of lesion and effective reconstruction.