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1.  Minimally invasive surgical procedures for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation 
In up to 30% of patients undergoing lumbar disc surgery for herniated or protruded discs outcomes are judged unfavourable. Over the last decades this problem has stimulated the development of a number of minimally-invasive operative procedures. The aim is to relieve pressure from compromised nerve roots by mechanically removing, dissolving or evaporating disc material while leaving bony structures and surrounding tissues as intact as possible. In Germany, there is hardly any utilisation data for these new procedures – data files from the statutory health insurances demonstrate that about 5% of all lumbar disc surgeries are performed using minimally-invasive techniques. Their real proportion is thought to be much higher because many procedures are offered by private hospitals and surgeries and are paid by private health insurers or patients themselves. So far no comprehensive assessment comparing efficacy, safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery to standard procedures (microdiscectomy, open discectomy) which could serve as a basis for coverage decisions, has been published in Germany.
Against this background the aim of the following assessment is:
Based on published scientific literature assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery compared to standard procedures. To identify and critically appraise studies comparing costs and cost-effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures to that of standard procedures. If necessary identify research and evaluation needs and point out regulative needs within the German health care system. The assessment focusses on procedures that are used in elective lumbar disc surgery as alternative treatment options to microdiscectomy or open discectomy. Chemonucleolysis, percutaneous manual discectomy, automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy, laserdiscectomy and endoscopic procedures accessing the disc by a posterolateral or posterior approach are included.
In order to assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures as well as their economic implications systematic reviews of the literature are performed. A comprehensive search strategy is composed to search 23 electronic databases, among them MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. Methodological quality of systematic reviews, HTA reports and primary research is assessed using checklists of the German Scientific Working Group for Health Technology Assessment. Quality and transparency of cost analyses are documented using the quality and transparency catalogues of the working group. Study results are summarised in a qualitative manner. Due to the limited number and the low methodological quality of the studies it is not possible to conduct metaanalyses. In addition to the results of controlled trials results of recent case series are introduced and discussed.
The evidence-base to assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery procedures is rather limited:
Percutaneous manual discectomy: Six case series (four after 1998)Automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy: Two RCT (one discontinued), twelve case series (one after 1998)Chemonucleolysis: Five RCT, five non-randomised controlled trials, eleven case seriesPercutaneous laserdiscectomy: One non-randomised controlled trial, 13 case series (eight after 1998)Endoscopic procedures: Three RCT, 21 case series (17 after 1998)
There are two economic analyses each retrieved for chemonucleolysis and automated percutaneous discectomy as well as one cost-minimisation analysis comparing costs of an endoscopic procedure to costs for open discectomy.
Among all minimally-invasive procedures chemonucleolysis is the only of which efficacy may be judged on the basis of results from high quality randomised controlled trials (RCT). Study results suggest that the procedure maybe (cost)effectively used as an intermediate therapeutical option between conservative and operative management of small lumbar disc herniations or protrusions causing sciatica. Two RCT comparing transforaminal endoscopic procedures with microdiscectomy in patients with sciatica and small non-sequestered disc herniations show comparable short and medium term overall success rates. Concerning speed of recovery and return to work a trend towards more favourable results for the endoscopic procedures is noted. It is doubtful though, whether these results from the eleven and five years old studies are still valid for the more advanced procedures used today. The only RCT comparing the results of automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy to those of microdiscectomy showed clearly superior results of microdiscectomy. Furthermore, success rates of automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy reported in the RCT (29%) differ extremely from success rates reported in case series (between 56% and 92%).
The literature search retrieves no controlled trials to assess efficacy and/or effectiveness of laser-discectomy, percutaneous manual discectomy or endoscopic procedures using a posterior approach in comparison to the standard procedures. Results from recent case series permit no assessment of efficacy, especially not in comparison to standard procedures. Due to highly selected patients, modi-fications of operative procedures, highly specialised surgical units and poorly standardised outcome assessment results of case series are highly variable, their generalisability is low.
The results of the five economical analyses are, due to conceptual and methodological problems, of no value for decision-making in the context of the German health care system.
Aside from low methodological study quality three conceptual problems complicate the interpretation of results.
Continuous further development of technologies leads to a diversity of procedures in use which prohibits generalisation of study results. However, diversity is noted not only for minimally-invasive procedures but also for the standard techniques against which the new developments are to be compared. The second problem refers to the heterogeneity of study populations. For most studies one common inclusion criterion was "persisting sciatica after a course of conservative treatment of variable duration". Differences among study populations are noted concerning results of imaging studies. Even within every group of minimally-invasive procedure, studies define their own in- and exclusion criteria which differ concerning degree of dislocation and sequestration of disc material. There is the non-standardised assessment of outcomes which are performed postoperatively after variable periods of time. Most studies report results in a dichotomous way as success or failure while the classification of a result is performed using a variety of different assessment instruments or procedures. Very often the global subjective judgement of results by patients or surgeons is reported. There are no scientific discussions whether these judgements are generalisable or comparable, especially among studies that are conducted under differing socio-cultural conditions. Taking into account the weak evidence-base for efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures it is not surprising that so far there are no dependable economic analyses.
Conclusions that can be drawn from the results of the present assessment refer in detail to the specified minimally-invasive procedures of lumbar disc surgery but they may also be considered exemplary for other fields where optimisation of results is attempted by technological development and widening of indications (e.g. total hip replacement).
Compared to standard technologies (open discectomy, microdiscectomy) and with the exception of chemonucleolysis, the developmental status of all other minimally-invasive procedures assessed must be termed experimental. To date there is no dependable evidence-base to recommend their use in routine clinical practice. To create such a dependable evidence-base further research in two directions is needed: a) The studies need to include adequate patient populations, use realistic controls (e.g. standard operative procedures or continued conservative care) and use standardised measurements of meaningful outcomes after adequate periods of time. b) Studies that are able to report effectiveness of the procedures under everyday practice conditions and furthermore have the potential to detect rare adverse effects are needed. In Sweden this type of data is yielded by national quality registries. On the one hand their data are used for quality improvement measures and on the other hand they allow comprehensive scientific evaluations. Since the year of 2000 a continuous rise in utilisation of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery is observed among statutory health insurers. Examples from other areas of innovative surgical technologies (e.g. robot assisted total hip replacement) indicate that the rise will probably continue - especially because there are no legal barriers to hinder introduction of innovative treatments into routine hospital care. Upon request by payers or providers the "Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss" may assess a treatments benefit, its necessity and cost-effectiveness as a prerequisite for coverage by the statutory health insurance. In the case of minimally-invasive disc surgery it would be advisable to examine the legal framework for covering procedures only if they are provided under evaluation conditions. While in Germany coverage under evaluation conditions is established practice in ambulatory health care only (“Modellvorhaben") examples from other European countries (Great Britain, Switzerland) demonstrate that it is also feasible for hospital based interventions. In order to assure patient protection and at the same time not hinder the further development of new and promising technologies provision under evaluation conditions could also be realised in the private health care market - although in this sector coverage is not by law linked to benefit, necessity and cost-effectiveness of an intervention.
PMCID: PMC3011322  PMID: 21289928
2.  Posterior endoscopic discectomy: Results in 300 patients 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2012;46(1):81-85.
Posterior endoscopic discectomy is an established method for treatment of lumbar disc herniation. Many studies have not been reported in literature for lumbar discectomy by Destandau Endospine System. We report a series of 300 patients operated for lumbar dissectomy by Destandau Endospine system.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 300 patients suffering from lumbar disc herniations were operated between January 2002 and December 2008. All patients were operated as day care procedure. Technique comprised localization of symptomatic level followed by insertion of an endospine system devise through a 15 mm skin and fascial incision. Endoscopic discectomy is then carried out by conventional micro disc surgery instruments by minimal invasive route. The results were evaluated by Macnab's criteria after a minimum followup of 12 months and maximum up to 24 months.
Based on modified Macnab's criteria, 90% patients had excellent to good, 8% had fair, and 2% had poor results. The complications observed were discitis and dural tear in five patients each and nerve root injury in two patients. 90% patients were able to return to light and sedentary work with an average delay of 3 weeks and normal physical activities after 2 months.
Edoscopic discectomy provides a safe and minimal access corridor for lumbar discectomy. The technique also allows early postoperative mobilization and faster return to work.
PMCID: PMC3270611  PMID: 22345812
Endoscope; endoscopic discectomy; endospine; facetectomy; laminotomy; radiculopathy
3.  Microendoscopic lumbar discectomy: Technique and results of 188 cases 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2014;48(1):81-87.
Discectomy performed open or with an operating microscope remains the standard surgical management. Tubular retractor system is being increasingly used. Potential benefits include less muscle and local damage, better cosmesis, decreased pain and operative time and faster recovery after surgery. We have evaluated the outcome of micro endoscopic discectomy (MED) utilizing tubular retractors in terms of safety and efficacy of the technique.
Materials and Methods:
188 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for herniated disc using the tubular retractors between April 2007 and April 2012 are reported. All patients had a preoperative MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and were operated by a single surgeon with the METRx system (Medtronic, Sofamor-Danek, Memphis, TN) using 18 and 16 mm ports. All patients were mobilized as soon as pain subsided and discharged within 24-48 hours post surgery. The results were evaluated by using VAS (Visual Analog Scale 0-5) for back and leg pain and ODI (Oswestry Disability Index). Patients were followed up at intervals of 1 week, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and 2 years.
The mean age of patients was 46 years (range 16-78 years) and the sex ratio was 1.5 males to 1 female. The mean followup was 22 months (range 8-69 months). The mean VAS scale for leg pain improved from 4.14 to 0.76 (P < 0.05) and the mean VAS scale for back pain improved from 4.1 to 0.9 (P < 0.05). The mean ODI changed from 59.5 to 22.6 (P < 0.05). The mean operative time per level was about 50 minutes (range 20-90 minutes). Dural punctures occurred in 11 (5%) cases. Average blood loss was 30 ml (range 10-500 ml). A wrong level was identified and later corrected in a case of revision discectomy. Four patients with residual disc-herniation had revision MED and three patients with recurrent disc herniation later underwent fusion. One patient had wound infection which needed a debridement.
MED for herniated discs effectively achieves the goals of surgery with minimal access. The advantages of the procedure are cosmesis, early postoperative recovery and minimal postoperative morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3931158  PMID: 24600068
Herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP); micro endoscopic discectomy; minimal invasive spine surgery
4.  Recurrent lumbar disc herniation: A prospective comparative study of three surgical management procedures 
Asian Journal of Neurosurgery  2013;8(3):139-146.
The optimal surgical treatment of recurrent lumbar disc herniation is controversial.
To compare prospectively the clinical outcomes of surgical treatment of recurrent lumbar disc herniation by three different methods; discectomy alone, discectomy with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), and diecectomy with posterolateral fusion (PLF), regardless of the postoperative radiological findings.
Study Design:
This is a prospective, randomized, comparative study.
Materials and Methods:
This is a prospective, randomized, comparative study on 45 patients with first time recurrent lumbar disc herniation. Patients were evaluated clinically by using the criteria of the Japanese Orthopedic Association's evaluation system for low back pain syndrome (JOA score). The patients were classified into three groups: Group A; patients who had revision discectomy alone, group B; patients who had revision discectomy with TLIF, and group C; patients who had revision discectomy with PLF. The mean follow-up period was 37 (±7.85 STD) months.
The mean overall recovery rate was 87.2% (±19.26 STD) and the satisfactory rate was 88.9%. Comparison between the three groups showed no significant difference with regard to the mean total postoperative JOA score, recovery rate, and satisfactory rate. However, the postoperative low back pain was significantly higher in group A than that of group B and C. Two patients in group A required further revision surgery. The incidences of dural tear and postoperative neurological deficit were higher in group A. The intraoperative blood loss and length of operation were significantly less in group A. The total cost of the procedure was significantly different between the three groups, being least in group A and highest in group B. There was no significant difference between the three groups with regard to the length of postoperative hospital stay.
Revision discectomy is effective in patients with recurrent lumbar disc herniation. Fusion with revision discectomy improves the postoperative low back pain, decreases the intraoperative risk of dural tear or neural damage and decreases the postoperative incidence of mechanical instability or re-recurrence. TLIF and PLF have comparable results when used with revision discectomy, but PLF has significantly less total cost than TLIF.
PMCID: PMC3877500  PMID: 24403956
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion; posterior lumbar interbody fusion; posterolateral fusion; recurrent lumbar disc herniation; transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
5.  Recurrence Rate after Herniotomy only versus Discectomy in Lumbar Disc Herniation 
Korean Journal of Spine  2013;10(4):227-231.
Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) recurrence necessitating reoperation can pose problems following spinal surgery, with an overall reported incidence of approximately (3-13%). The purpose of this study is to identify the rate of recurrent disc herniation, to discuss the radiologic indications for herniotomy and to analyze clinical outcomes compared with conventional discectomy.
This study is a retrospective case control study. The authors retrospectively reviewed 114 patients who underwent herniotomy & conventional discectomy by a single surgeon for single-level LDH between June 2009 and May 2012. Herniotomy group was 57 patients and conventional discectomy group was 57 patients that were selected from 631 patients using stratified randomization. Evaluation for LDH recurrence included detailed medical chart and radiologic review and telephone interview. Postoperative VAS and the Korean version of ODI were examined one week after surgery. Clinical outcome was investigated according to Odom's criteria from three months to three years.
Of the 114 patients for whom the authors were able to definitively assess symptomatic recurrence status, four patients (7%) experienced LDH recurrence following single-level herniotomy and three patients (5.2%) conventional discectomy. There were no differences in the VAS and Korean version of ODI between herniotomy group and conventional discectomy group. The herniotomy group had better results than the conventional discectomy group in clinical outcome from three months to three years, but the difference was not significant.
There were no significant differences in clinical outcome between herniotomy and conventional discectomy. Recurrence rates following herniotomy for LDH compare favorably with those in patients who have undergone conventional discectomy, lending further support for its effectiveness in treating herniotomy.
PMCID: PMC4040647  PMID: 24891853
Lumbar Vertebrae; Herniated Disc; Diskectomy; Recurrence
6.  Revisional Percutaneous Full Endoscopic Disc Surgery for Recurrent Herniation of Previous Open Lumbar Discectomy 
Asian Spine Journal  2011;5(1):1-9.
Study Design
A retrospective study.
To determine the feasibility and effectiveness of revisional percutaneous full endoscopic discectomy for recurrent herniation after conventional open disc surgery.
Overview of the Literature
Repeated open discectomy with or without fusion has been the most common procedure for recurrent lumbar disc herniation. Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy for recurrent herniation has been thought of as an impossible procedure. Despite good results with open revisional surgery, major problems may be caused by injuries to the posterior stabilized structures. Our team did revisional full endoscopic lumbar disc surgery on the basis of our experience doing primary full endoscopic disc surgery.
Between February 2004 and August 2009 a total of 41 patients in our hospital underwent revisional percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy using a YESS endoscopic system and a micro-osteotome (designed by the authors). Indications for surgery were recurrent disc herniation following conventional open discectomy; with compression of the nerve root revealed by Gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging; corresponding radiating pain which was not alleviated after conservative management over 6 weeks. Patients with severe neurologic deficits and isolated back pain were excluded.
The mean follow-up period was 16 months (range, 13 to 42 months). The visual analog scale for pain in the leg and back showed significant post-treatment improvement (p < 0.001). Based on a modified version of MacNab's criteria, 90.2% showed excellent or good outcomes. There was no measurable blood loss. There were two cases of recurrence of and four cases with complications.
Percutaneous full-endoscopic revisional disc surgery without additional structural damage is feasible and effective in terms of there being less chance of fusion and bleeding. This technique can be an alternative to conventional repeated discectomy.
PMCID: PMC3047892  PMID: 21386940
Endoscopic discectomy; Interlaminar discectomy; Transforaminal discectomy; Percutaneous discectomy; Recurrent disc herniation; Lumbar spine
7.  Magnetic resonance myelography in early postoperative lumbar discectomy: An efficient and cost effective modality 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2010;44(3):257-262.
Magnetic resonance myelography (MRM) after lumbar discectomy is all too often an unrewarding challenge. A constellation of findings are inevitable, and determining their significance is often difficult. MRM is a noninvasive technique that can provide anatomical information about the subarachnoid space. Until now, there is no study reported in literature showing any clinico-radiological correlation of post operative MRM. The objective of this study was to prospectively evaluate the diagnostic effectiveness of MRM for the demonstration of decompression in operated discectomy patients and its correlation with subjective and objective outcome (pain and SLR) in immediate postoperative period.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty three patients of single level lumbar disc herniation (LDH) justifying the inclusion criteria were operated for discectomy. All patients underwent MRM on second/third postoperative day. The pain relief and straight leg raise sign improvement was correlated with the postoperative MRM images to group the patients into: A- Subjective Pain relief, SLR improved and MRM image showing myelo regression; B- Subjective Pain relief, SLR improved and MRM image showing no myelo regression; C- No Subjective Pain relief, no SLR improved and MRM image showing myelo regression and; D- No Subjective Pain relief, no SLR improved and MRM image showing no myelo regression.
The result showed that Group A had 46 while Group B, C and Group D had 4, 2 and one patients respectively. Clinico-radiological correlation (Clinically diagnosed patient and findings with MRM correlation) was present in 47 patients (88.68%) which includes both A and D groups. The MRM specificity and sensitivity were 92% and 33.33% respectively.
MRM is a non-invasive, efficient and reliable tool in confirming postoperative decompression in lumbar discectomy patients, especially when economic factors are to be considered and the required expertise to reliably read a complex confusing post-operative MRI is not available readily. Further, controlled double blinded multicentric study in operated and non operated LDH, with MRI comparison would give better evidence to justify its use in screening to detect persisting compression and to document decompression.
PMCID: PMC2911924  PMID: 20697477
Discectomy; lumbar disc herniation; magnetic resonance myelography
8.  Endoscopic Foraminal Decompression for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome under local Anesthesia 
The most common causes of failed back surgery are residual or recurrent herniation, foraminal fibrosis and foraminal stenosis that is ignored, untreated, or undertreated. Residual back ache may also be from facetal causes or denervation and scarring of the paraspinal muscles.1–6 The original surgeon may advise his patient that nothing more can be done on the basis of his opinion that the nerve was visually decompressed by the original surgery, supported by improved post-op imaging and follow-up studies such as EMG and conduction velocity studies. Post-op imaging or electrophysiological assessment may be inadequate to explain all the reasons for residual or recurrent symptoms. Treatment of Failed back surgery by repeat traditional open revision surgery usually incorporates more extensive decompression causing increased instability and back pain, therefore necessitating fusion. The authors, having limited their practice to endoscopic MIS surgery over the last 15-20 years, report on their experience gained during that period to relieve pain by endoscopically visualizing and treating unrecognized causative patho-anatomy in FBSS.7
Thirty consecutive patients with FBSS presenting with back and leg pain that had supporting imaging diagnosis of lateral stenosis and /or residual / recurrent disc herniation, or whose pain complaint was supported by relief from diagnostic and therapeutic injections (Figure 1), were offered percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic discectomy and foraminoplasty over a repeat open procedure. Each patient sought consultation following a transient successful, partially successful or unsuccessful open translaminar surgical treatment for disc herniation or spinal stenosis. Endoscopic foraminoplasty was also performed to either decompress the bony foramen for foraminal stenosis, or foraminoplasty to allow for endoscopic visual examination of the affected traversing and exiting nerve roots in the axilla, also known as the “hidden zone” of Macnab (Figure 2).8, 9 The average follow up time was, average 40 months, minimum 12 months. Outcome data at each visit included Macnab, VAS and ODI.
A diagnostic and therapeutic epidural gram may help identify unrecognized lateral recess stenosis underestimated by MRI. An excellent result from a therapeutic block lends excellent prognosis for a more lasting and “permanent” result from transforaminal endoscopic lateral recess decompression.
Kambin's Triangle provides access to the “hidden zone” of Macnab by foraminoplasty. The foramen and lateral recess is decompressed by removing the ventral aspect and tip of the superior articular process to gain access to the axilla between the traversing and exiting nerve. FBSS contains patho-anatomy in the axilla between the traversing and exiting nerve that hides the pain generators of FBSS.
The average pre-operative VAS improved from 7.2 to 4.0, and ODI 48% to 31%. While temporary dysesthesia occurred in 4 patients in the early post-operative period, all were happy, as all received additional relief of their pre-op symptoms. They were also relieved to be able to avoid “open” decompression or fusion surgery.
Conclusions / Level of Evidence 3
The transforaminal endoscopic approach is effective for FBSS due to residual/recurrent HNP and lateral stenosis. Failed initial index surgery may involve failure to recognize patho-anatomy in the axilla of the foramen housing the traversing and the exiting nerve, including the DRG, which is located cephalad and near the tip of SAP.10 The transforaminal endoscopic approach effectively decompresses the foramen and does not further destabilize the spine needing stabilization.11 It also avoids going through the previous surgical site.
Clinical Relevance
Disc narrowing as a consequence of translaminar discectomy and progressive degenerative narrowing and spondylolisthesis (Figure 3) as a natural history of degenerative disc disease can lead to central and lateral stenosis. The MRI may underestimate the degree of stenosis from a bulging or a foraminal disc protrusion and residual lateral recess stenosis. Pain can be diagnosed and confirmed by evocative discography and by clinical response to transforaminal diagnostic and therapeutic steroid injections.12 Foraminal endoscopic decompression of the lateral recess is a MIS technique that does not “burn bridges” for a more conventional approach and it adds to the surgical armamentarium of FBSS.
Cadaver Illustration of Foraminal Stenosis (courtesy of Wolfgang Rauschning). As the disc narrows, the superior articular process impinges on the exiting nerve and DRG, creating lateral recess stenosis, lumbar spondylosis, and facet arthrosis.
PMCID: PMC4325507
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome(FBSS); Hidden zone; Foraminal decompression; Recurrent herniation; Lateral stenosis; Foraminal osteophyte
9.  Posterior endoscopic discectomy (and other procedures) 
European Spine Journal  2000;9(Suppl 1):S024-S029.
Percutaneous approaches to lumbar discectomy were somewhat controversial, because of their limited indications. They have not proven to be as effective as standard open lumbar disc surgery, because of longer operating times and some technical problems in addressing all the different aspects of lumbar disc herniations. New percutaneous posterior procedures for lumbar disc disease have been described in the last few years, but the MicroEndoscopic Discectomy (MED) introduced by Foley and Smith in 1997 seems to be the most promising one. MED, and METR’x which evolved from it, . allow the surgeon to address not only contained lumbar disc herniations, but also free-fragment disc pathology and symptomatic lateral recess stenosis secondary to bony hypertrophy. The surgical technique is summarized and some preliminary clinical results of a prospective multicenter study with 13 months’ mean follow-up are presented.
PMCID: PMC3611440
Key words Disc herniation; Posterior approach; Microdiscectomy; Endoscopic ¶approach
10.  Reoperation after lumbar disc surgery in two hundred and seven patients 
International Orthopaedics  2013;37(8):1511-1517.
The purpose of this study was to compare the causes and characteristics of reoperations after different primary operations for lumbar disc herniation (LDH).
Out of a series of 5,280 patients who underwent operations for LDH between 2001 and 2012, 207 patients (135 male and 72 female, mean age 47.7 years) underwent primary and revision operations, which were included in this study. The following clinical parameters were retrospectively assessed: the primary surgical methods, the intervals between primary and revision operations, and surgical findings in the revisions.
In total, 232 lumbar discs underwent reoperations. One hundred and nineteen reoperations were performed after microendoscopic discectomy (MED group), 68 after percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD group) and 45 after open disc surgery (open group). The locations of revision operations had priority over those of primary surgery, with a moderate correlation (kappa coefficient = 0.533). A total of 46.6 % of reoperations were performed within 0.5 years after primary surgery, and 35.3 % were performed between one and five years. Real recurrent herniation (homolateral herniations at the same level) was significantly more common than other reoperative surgical findings (70.6 % in PELD group, 47.1 % in MED group, 37.8 % in open group). The overall mean interval until revision surgery was 18.9 months (8.1 months in the PELD group vs. 19.7 months in the MED group vs. 33.1 months in the open group, p < 0.01).
For LDH, real recurrent herniation was the most common cause of reoperations, and more reoperations for real recurrent herniations and shorter intervals were found after minimally invasive endoscopic discectomy than after open disc surgery.
PMCID: PMC3728382  PMID: 23695881
11.  Comparison of postural control in unilateral stance between healthy controls and lumbar discectomy patients with and without pain 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(4):423-432.
Main problem: Previous studies have demonstrated that sciatica patients have poorer postural control than healthy controls and that postural control remains unchanged 3 months after lumbar discectomy in sciatica patients. The aims of the current study were to investigate whether static balance control recovers in pain-free discectomy patients long-term after lumbar discectomy. Next is to determine whether static balance responses of asymptomatic and symptomatic lumbar discectomy patients differed from each other and from healthy controls. In addition, the influence of the extent of disc resection (unilateral/bilateral removal) and the side of operation on static balance control were investigated. Methods: Fifteen pain-free lumbar discectomy patients, 23 lumbar discectomy patients with residual pain and 72 controls performed unilateral stance tasks with eyes open and eyes closed on a force plate were taken up for the investigation. Three repetitions of a 10 s unilateral stance test were performed on each leg. Postural sway was determined. Patients were divided into three age groups. Results: In the eyes open condition, there was no significant difference between postural sway of pain-free lumbar discectomy patients and controls (P=0.68), whereas balance of patients with pain was significantly worse than in controls (P=0.003). In the eyes closed condition, the sway in both groups of lumbar discectomy patients was significantly worse than in controls (pain-free P=0.009/painful P<0.001). No significant differences were found in postural sway between patients with unilateral and bilateral disc resection. In unilateral stance on the leg of the operated side, centre of gravity sway was not significantly different in the eyes open condition compared to the eyes closed condition, whereas in stance on the leg of the non-operated side, postural sway was significantly lower in the eyes open condition compared to the eyes closed condition. In both conditions, postural sway in the age group of 50–65 years was significantly higher than in the age groups of 30–39 years (eyes open P=0.005; eyes closed P<0.001) and 40–49 years (eyes open P=0.002; eyes closed P=0.006). There was no significant difference between the age group of 30–39 years and the age group of 40–49 years (P=0.51). Conclusion: As for long-term following lumbar discectomy, there is no complete recovery of postural control. Patients seem to develop visual compensation mechanisms for underlying sensory–motor deficits, which are, however, sufficient in case of pain relief only. Further study is needed to determine the cause of the balance disturbances in lumbar discectomy patients.
PMCID: PMC3489320  PMID: 16133081
Postural control; Unilateral stance; Lumbar discectomy; Visual compensation
12.  Exiting root injury in transforaminal endoscopic discectomy: preoperative image considerations for safety 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(11):2481-2487.
To evaluate the clinical and radiological risk factors for exiting root injuries during transforaminal endoscopic discectomy.
We retrospectively examined cohort data from 233 patients who underwent percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy for lumbar disc herniation between January 1st, 2010 and December 31st, 2011. We divided the patients into the two groups: those who presented a postoperative exiting root injury, such as postoperative dysesthesia or motor weakness (Group A, n = 20), and those who did not suffer from a root injury (Group B, n = 213). We examined the clinical and radiological factors relating exiting root injuries. We measured the active working zone with the exiting root to the upper facet distance (Distance A), the exiting root to disc surface distance at the lower facet line (Distance B) and the exiting root to the lower facet distance (Distance C) in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Group A exhibited a shorter Distance C (6.4 ± 1.5 versus 4.4 ± 0.8 mm, p < 0.001) and a longer operation time (67.9 ± 21.8 versus 80.3 ± 23.7 min, p = 0.017) relative to Group B. The complication rate decreased by 23 % per each 1-mm increase in Distance C (p = 0.000). In addition, the complication rate increased 1.027-fold per each 1-min increase in the operation time (p = 0.027).
We recommend measuring the distance from the exiting root to the facet at the lower disc level according to a preoperative MRI scan. If the distance is narrow, an alternative surgical method, such as microdiscectomy or conventional open discectomy, should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3886527  PMID: 23754603
Endoscopy; Discectomy; Root injury; Working zone
13.  Postoperative discitis following single-level lumbar discectomy: Our experience of 17 cases 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2012;46(4):427-433.
The established protocols of treatment of postoperative lumbar discitis have not been validated till date. We report a retrospective analysis of a series of patients with discitis following single level lumbar discectomy. We analyzed the outcome of conservative treatment of postoperative discitis with the objective to define when and what surgery was required when the conservative treatment failed.
Materials and Methods:
A total of 17 cases of postoperative discitis treated from 2002 to 2009 were followed up and evaluated clinically, radiologically and by laboratory investigations. All the patients were treated initially conservatively with rest and antibiotic therapy after diagnosis and those who did not respond to conservative treatment of at least 4 weeks were treated surgically. The cases were followed up with serial C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for at least 1 year.
The mean followup was 40.38 months (range 12-86 months). Four cases failed to respond to conservative therapy and were treated surgically. In three of these four cases, open debridement, transpedicular fixation and posterolateral fusion was performed, and in the fourth case percutaneous transpedicular fixation was done. In the former group, one case was diagnosed to be tubercular, in another case Staphylococcus aureus was cultured where as the third case culture was sterile. All operated patients showed evidence of interbody fusion at 1 year followup.
Early detection and aggressive treatment are paramount in managing postoperative discitis and the majority do well with conservative treatment. Surgical management in the form of transpedicular fixation and debridement, when required, gives excellent results.
PMCID: PMC3421933  PMID: 22912518
Disc space infection; discitis; lumbar discectomy; postoperative discitis
14.  Clinical results of XMR-assisted percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic lumbar discectomy 
Although percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD) has shown favorable outcomes in the majority of lumbar discectomy cases, there were also some failures. The most common cause of failure is the incomplete removal of disc fragments. The skin entry point for the guide-needle trajectory and the optimal placement of the working sleeve are largely blind, which might lead to the inadequate removal of disc fragments. The objective of this study was to present our early experiences with image-guided PELD using a specially designed fluoroscope with magnetic resonance imaging-equipped operative suite (XMR) for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation.
This prospective study included 89 patients who had undergone PELD via the transforaminal approach using an XMR protocol. Pre- and postoperative examinations (at 12 weeks) included a detailed clinical history, visual analogue scale (VAS), Oswestry disability index (ODI), and radiological workups. The results were categorized as excellent, good, fair, and poor according to MacNab's criteria. At the final follow-up, the minimum follow-up time for the subjects was 2 years. The need for revision surgeries and postoperative complications were noted on follow-up.
Postoperative mean ODI decreased from 67.4% to 5.61%. Mean VAS score for back and leg pain improved significantly from 4 to 2.3 and from 7.99 to 1.04, respectively. Four (4.49%) patients underwent a second-stage PELD after intraoperative XMR had shown remnant fragments after the first stage. As per MacNab's criteria, 76 patients (85.4%) showed excellent, 8 (8.89%) good, 3 (3.37%) fair, and 2 (2.25) poor results. Four (4.49%) patients had remnant disc fragments on XMR, which were removed during the same procedure. All of these patients had either highly migrated or sequestrated disc fragments preoperatively. Four (4.49%) other patients needed a second, open surgery due to symptomatic postoperative hematoma (n = 2) and recurrent disc herniation (n = 2).
This prospective analysis indicates that XMR-assisted PELD provides a precise skin entry point. It also confirms that decompression occurs intraoperatively, which negates the need for a separate surgery and thus increases the success rate of PELD, particularly in highly migrated or sequestrated discs. However, further extensive experience is required to confirm the advantages and feasibility of PELD in terms of cost effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC3668223  PMID: 23705685
Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy; Incomplete disc removal; XMR-guided procedure; High success rate
15.  Artificial Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (ACDA): tips and tricks 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 36.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is currently treatment of choice for managing medical therapy refractory cervical degenerative disc disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ACDF; patients generally experience rapid recoveries, and dramatic improvement in their pain and quality of life. However, as several studies reported symptomatic adjacent segment disease attributed to fusions’ altered kinematics, cervical disc arthroplasty emerged as a new motion-sparing alternative to fusion. Fusion at one level increases motion at adjacent levels along with increased intradiscal pressures. This phenomenon can result in symptomatic adjacent level degeneration, which can necessitate reoperation at these levels. The era of cervical arthroplasty began in Europe in the late 1990s. In recent years, artificial cervical disc arthroplasty (ACDA) has been increasingly used by spine surgeons for degenerative cervical disc disease. There have been several reports of safety, efficacy and indications of ACDA.
Cervical arthroplasty offers several theoretical advantages over anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in the treatment of selected patients with medically refractory cervical radiculopathy. Preserving motion at the operated level, cervical TDR has the potential to decrease the occurrence of adjacent segment degeneration.
There are a few studies on the efficacy and effectiveness of ACDA compared to cervical fusion. However, the true scenery of cervical arthroplasty yet to be identified.
This study is intended to define patients' characteristics and outcomes of ACDA by a single surgeon in Iran.
This retrospective study was performed in two general Hospitals in Tehran, Iran from 2005 To 2010. All patients were operated by one senior neurospine surgeon. One hundred fifty three patients were operated in this period. All patients signed the informed consent form prior to surgery. All patients presented with cervical discopathy who had myelopathy or radiculopathy and failed conservative management, undergoing cervical disc arthroplasty by ACDA were included, consecutively. Patients were followed for at least 2 years.
Exclusion criteria was age greater than 60 years, non compliance with the study protocol, osteoporosis, infection, congenital or post traumatic deformity, malignancy metabolic bone disease, and narrow cervical canal (less than 12 mm). Heterotopic ossification and adjacent segment degenerative changes were assessed at 2 years follow up by means of neutral and dynamic xrays and CT/MRI if clinically indicated. Neck and upper extremity pain were assessed before the procedure and in the first post-operative visit and 3 months later by means of visual analogue scale.
A standard approach was performed to the anterior cervical spine. Patients were positioned supine while holding neck in neutral position. A combination of sharp and blunt dissection was performed to expose longus coli musculature and anterior cervical vertebrae. Trachea and esophagus were retracted medially and carotid artery and jugular vein laterally. After a thorough discectomy, the intersomatic space is distracted in a parallel way by a vertebral distracter. Followed by Caspar distractor is applied to provide a working channel into posterior disc space. In this stage, any remnant disc materials as well as osteophytes are removed and foraminal decompression is done. Posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) opening and removal, although discouraged by some, is done next. In order to define the size of the prosthesis, multiple trials are tested. It is important not to exceed the height of the healthy adjacent disc to avoid facet joint overdistraction. An specific insertor is applied to plant the prosthesis in disc space. Control X-rays are advised to check the precise positioning of the implant.
one hundred-fifty three patients including 87 females and 66 males were included. The mean age was 41 for females and 42 for males. Affected level was C5-C6 in 81 cases, C6-C7 in 72 cases and C4-C5 in 10 cases. The most common applied ACDA was DiscoCerv which was inserted in 127 cases followed by prodisc-c in three patients and Baguera in thirty three psatients.Ten cases had two levels involvement. Both neck and upper extremity pain improved significantly in early and late post op assessments compared to pre-op. There was only one operative complication of quadriparesis which might be attributed to the iatrogenic cervical spinal trauma.
Cervical disc arthroplasty has been advocated to address drawbacks of fusion including loss of motion segment and adjacent level degeneration; our study along with several other reports provide considerable evidence in this regard. Cervical disc arthroplasty is a safe and effective alternative for fusion in cervical degenerative disc disease.
Cervical degenerative disc disease, Artificial cervical disc arthroplasty, Safety, Efficacy
PMCID: PMC3571562
16.  Treatment outcomes of 130 patients underwent an endoscopic discectomy 
Journal of Injury and Violence Research  2012;4(3 Suppl 1): Paper No. 34.
Endoscopic discectomy method is a novel technique that is increasingly used in spine surgery. Previous studies have reported that some common complications like dural adhesions are lower in this technique compared with the other techniques. Furthermore, treatment outcomes are reportedly higher because of minimal invasion. Thepresent study aims to determine the outcome of percutaneous endoscopic discectomy.
A total of 130 patients underwent the lumbar disc prolapse operations during 2008 to 2012 in all of them the entire procedure was performed endoscopically. All procedures were carried out from a posterior approach using a 4-mm Hopkins 0 degrees-telescope placed in the working insert equipped with channels for suction tube, operative instruments and nerve root retractor (ENDOSPINE instrumentation (Karl STORZ GmbH and Co. KG). The pre- and post-operation pain was assessed using a Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Furthermore, the treatment outcome was assessed using modified MacNab criteria before operation, 24 hours, one month, 2 months, 6 months, one year, and two years after operation .
Good to excellent outcome was achieved in 89% of patients, which is comparable with the results of classic microdiscectomy. The mean age of patients was 35.6 years old and the mean length of follow-up was 3.4 years. There was significant reduction in the severity of back pain and lower limb symptoms at 6 months and 2 years post-operation. There was significant improvement in all aspects of the Quality of Life scores at 6 months and 2 years post-operation. In 3 patients the dural sac was lacerated but none of the tears was exceed a few mm in length with not association with neural injury.
Findings of this study showed that percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy is associated with improvement in back pain and lower limb symptoms. It has the advantage that it can be performed on a day case basis with short length of hospitalization and early return to work thus improving quality of life earlier.
Endoscopic discectomy, Spine surgery, Lumbar disc prolapse operation, Outcome
PMCID: PMC3571560
17.  TLIF for symptomatic disc degeneration: a retrospective study of 100 patients 
European Spine Journal  2011;20(Suppl 1):57-60.
The goal of a fusion of the lumbar spine is to obtain a primary solid arthrodesis thus to alleviate pain. Different circumferential fusion techniques have been described such as combined anterior–posterior fusion (APF), instrumented posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). The TLIF procedure has rapidly gained popularity; because of its posterolateral extracanalar discectomy and fusion, it has been reported as a safe technique, without the potential complications described when using combined APF and PLIF techniques. A retrospective clinical and radiographic study was performed. The database of our Center was interrogated in a retrospective way to extract data from patients that underwent a one or two level lumbar fusion with TLIF approach. All patients had symptomatic disc degeneration of the lumbar spine. One hundred and fourteen levels fused from 2003 to 2008. All patients were operated in the same center. All the patients were operated by the same surgical team. Patients were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively at 1 and 3 months and 1 and 2 years follow-up. The spine was approached through a classic posterior midline incision and subperiosteal muscular detachment. The side of facetectomy was chosen according to the subject’s symptoms of leg pain if present. A posterolateral annulotomy was made and subtotal discectomy was performed and the hyaline cartilage of endplates was removed. Once the surgeon was satisfied with endplate preparation, a banana shaped allograft spacer was inserted through the annulotomy and placed anteriorly. Additional autograft locally harvested from decompression was packed behind the allograft spacer in all cases. Laminae and the remaining contralateral facet joint were decorticated, and packed with bone graft (local autologous and allograft chips in some cases). The posterior fusion was instrumented with pedicle screws and titanium rods. The TLIF procedure had led to shortened surgical times, less neurologic injury, and improved overall outcomes. The introduction of the TLIF procedure has allowed surgeons to achieve successful fusion without the risk of nerve root tethering that is seen so frequently with standard PLIF techniques.
PMCID: PMC3087043  PMID: 21461695
TLIF; Minimal invasive fusion; Degenerative disc disease; Interbody fusion
18.  Endoscopic discectomy of L5-S1 disc herniation via an interlaminar approach: Prospective controlled study under local and general anesthesia 
Open discectomy remains the standard method for treatment of lumbar disc herniation, but can traumatize spinal structure and leaves symptomatic epidural scarring in more than 10% of cases. The usual transforaminal approach may be associated with difficulty reaching the epidural space due to anatomical peculiarities at the L5–S1 level. The endoscopic interlaminar approach can provide a direct pathway for decompression of disc herniation at the L5–S1 level. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical results of endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy at the L5–S1 level and compare the technique feasibility, safety, and efficacy under local and general anesthesia (LA and GA, respectively).
One hundred twenty-three patients with L5–S1 disc herniation underwent endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy from October 2006 to June 2009 by two spine surgeons using different anesthesia preferences in two medical centers. Visual analog scale (VAS) scores for back pain and leg pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) sores were recorded preoperatively, and at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Results were compared to evaluate the technique feasibility, safety, and efficacy under LA and GA.
VAS scores for back pain and leg pain and ODI revealed statistically significant improvement when they were compared with preoperative values. Mean hospital stay was statistically shorter in the LA group. Complications included one case of dural tear with rootlet injury and three cases of recurrence within 1 month who subsequently required open surgery or endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy. There were no medical or infectious complications in either group.
Disc herniation at the L5–S1 level can be adequately treated endoscopically with an interlaminar approach. GA and LA are both effective for this procedure. However, LA is better than GA in our opinion.
PMCID: PMC3130490  PMID: 21748045
General anesthesia; interlaminar approach; local anesthesia; lumbar disc herniation; percutaneous endoscopic discectomy
19.  Cost-effectiveness of microendoscopic discectomy versus conventional open discectomy in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation: a prospective randomised controlled trial [ISRCTN51857546] 
Open discectomy is the standard surgical procedure in the treatment of patients with long-lasting sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation. Minimally invasive approaches such as microendoscopic discectomy have gained attention in recent years. Reduced tissue trauma allows early ambulation, short hospital stay and quick resumption of daily activities. A comparative cost-effectiveness study has not been performed yet. We present the design of a randomised controlled trial on cost-effectiveness of microendoscopic discectomy versus conventional open discectomy in patients with lumbar disc herniation.
Patients (age 18–70 years) presenting with sciatica due to lumbar disc herniation lasting more than 6–8 weeks are included. Patients with disc herniation larger than 1/3 of the spinal canal diameter, or disc herniation less than 1/3 of the spinal canal diameter with concomitant lateral recess stenosis or sequestration, are eliglible for participation. Randomisation into microendoscopic discectomy or conventional unilateral transflaval discectomy will take place in the operating room after induction of anesthesia. The length of skin incision is equal in both groups. The primary outcome measure is the functional assessment of the patient, measured by the Roland Disability Questionnaire for Sciatica, at 8 weeks and 1 year after surgery. We will also evaluate several other outcome parameters, including perceived recovery, leg and back pain, incidence of re-operations, complications, serum creatine kinase, quality of life, medical consumption, absenteeism and costs. The study is a randomised prospective multi-institutional trial, in which two surgical techniques are compared in a parallel group design. Patients and research nurses are kept blinded of the allocated treatment during the follow-up period of 2 years.
Currently, open discectomy is the golden standard in the surgical treatment of lumbar disc herniation. Whether microendoscopic discectomy is more cost-effective than unilateral transflaval discectomy has to be determined by this trial.
PMCID: PMC1475863  PMID: 16696861
20.  Magnetic resonance image findings in the early post-operative period after anterior cervical discectomy 
European Spine Journal  2006;16(1):27-31.
If early neurological deterioration occurs following anterior cervical discectomy, the patient should be evaluated by urgent MRI scanning. In order to interpret such a scan it is essential to know what the normal post-operative MRI appearance is following an uncomplicated procedure. In the lumbar spine it is well recognized that early post-operative imaging following discectomy is difficult to interpret with a high rate of false positive scans.The normal appearance of MRI in the early post-operative period was evaluated prospectively in 15 patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy without fusion for either cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy. MRI was performed on the first post-operative day, at 6 weeks and 6 months. The successful outcome of the procedure was validated by uniform improvement of Visual Analogue Scale measurement for neck and arm pain, the Neck Disability Index and European Myelopathy Score as appropriate.In contrast to the established findings following lumbar discectomy, only two cases showed a persistent epidural mass in the first post-operative scan and this had completely resolved at 6 months. All patients had foraminal narrowing and root or cord compression pre-operatively. Sixty six percent of cases showed persistent foraminal narrowing on sequential imaging up to 6 months despite showing good symptomatic improvement. All cases demonstrated high signal in the operated disc space on T2 weighted imaging on the first post-operative day and this finding persisted in 13 of 15 scans performed at 6 weeks. Post contrast imaging demonstrated no enhancement of operated disc space and adjacent vertebral body on the first post-operative day, whereas all scans at 6 weeks showed enhancement and such enhancement persisted at 6 months in 50%. Persistent epidural filling defects are uncommon following successful anterior cervical discectomy but persistence of foraminal narrowing is common despite successful outcome. Enhancement of the disc space is also common and does not in itself imply infection.
PMCID: PMC2198885  PMID: 16421746
Cervical spine; Anterior cervical discectomy; Post-operative findings; Magnetic resonance imaging
21.  Percutaneous lumbar discectomy in the treatment of lumbar discitis 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(2):98-101.
Lumbar disc infection, either after surgical discectomy or caused by haematogenous spread from other infection sources, is a severe complication. Specific antibiotic treatment has to be started as soon as possible to obtain satisfactory results in conservative treatment or operative fusion. The aim of this study was to analyse 16 cases of lumbar disc infection, treated with percutaneous lumbar discectomy (PLD) to obtain adequate amounts of tissue for histological examination and microbial culture. Between 1990 and 1994, 26 patients with vertebral osteomyelitis were treated. Sixteen patients, with an average age of 41.4 years (range 14–59 years), underwent a diagnostic PLD. Eight of them showed only moderate changes on computed tomograms (CT scans) and magnetic resonance (MR) images in the initial stages of the disease. The other eight showed more or less extensive osteolytic lesions of one or both vertebral bodies adjacent to the involved disc. The histology results showed non-specific discitis in nine patients and tuberculosis in one. In two patients an open biopsy had been performed, which showed non-specific discitis. Microbiological analysis revealed specific infection in 45% of the patients. These patients received a specific antibiotic treatment after antibiogram for an average of 33 days. Only three patients were treated surgically, with evacuation of the disc space and interbody fusion; the whole group received a spondylitis brace. All patients obtained satisfactory clinical results at the last follow-up regarding pain, mobility and spontaneous fusion of the involved disc space. In conclusion, PLD is a very helpful minimally invasive procedure in conservative treatment of lumbar discitis.
PMCID: PMC3454591  PMID: 9209876
Percutaneous discectomy; Osteomyelitis; Haematogenous spondylodiscitis; Aspiration
22.  An in vivo kinematic comparison of dynamic lumbar stabilization to lumbar discectomy and posterior lumbar fusion using radiostereometric analysis 
Biomechanical studies have shown that dynamic stabilization restores the neutral zone and stabilizes the motion segment. Unfortunately, there are limitations to clinical measurement of lumbar motion segments when using routine radiographs. Radiostereometric analysis is a 3-dimensional technique and can measure the spinal motion segment more accurately than techniques using plain film radiographs. The purpose of this study was measure and compare the range of motion after dynamic stabilization, posterior lumbar fusion (PLF), and lumbar discectomy.
Four patients who underwent lumbar decompression and dynamic stabilization (Dynesys; Zimmer Spine, Inc., Warsaw, Indiana) for treatment of lumbar spondylosis were compared with 4 patients with a similar diagnosis who were treated by PLF and pedicle screw fixation (PLF group) and 8 patients who had undergone lumbar microdiscectomy (discectomy group) for treatment of radiculopathy. During the surgical procedure, 3 to 5 tantalum beads were placed into each of the operative segments. The patients were followed up postoperatively at 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years. At each follow-up time point, segmental motions (flexion, extension, and total sagittal range of motion [SROM]) were measured by radiostereometric analysis.
Flexion, extension, and SROM measured 1.0° ± 0.9°, 1.5° ± 1.3°, and 2.3° ± 1.2°, respectively, in the Dynesys group; 1.0° ± 0.6°, 1.1° ± 0.9°, and 1.5° ± 0.6°, respectively, in the PLF group; and 2.9° ± 2.4°, 2.3° ± 1.5°, and 4.7° ± 2.2°, respectively, in the discectomy group. No significant difference in motion was seen between the Dynesys and PLF groups or between the Dynesys and discectomy groups in extension. Significant differences in motions were seen between the PLF and discectomy groups and between the Dynesys and discectomy groups in flexion (P = .007) and SROM (P = .002). There was no significant change in the measured motions over time.
In this study a significantly lower amount of motion was seen after dynamic stabilization and PLF when compared with discectomy. A future study with a larger cohort is necessary to examine what effect, if any, these motions have on clinical outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4300887
Spine surgery; RSA; Range of motion; Kinematics
23.  Higher risk of dural tears and recurrent herniation with lumbar micro-endoscopic discectomy 
European Spine Journal  2010;19(3):443-450.
Existing studies on micro-endoscopic lumbar discectomy report similar outcomes to those of open and microdiscectomy and conflicting results on complications. We designed a randomised controlled trial to investigate the hypothesis of different outcomes and complications obtainable with the three techniques. 240 patients aged 18–65 years affected by posterior lumbar disc herniation and symptoms lasting over 6 weeks of conservative management were randomised to micro-endoscopic (group 1), micro (group 2) or open (group 3) discectomy. Exclusion criteria were less than 6 weeks of pain duration, cauda equina compromise, foraminal or extra-foraminal herniations, spinal stenosis, malignancy, previous spinal surgery, spinal deformity, concurrent infection and rheumatic disease. Surgery and follow-up were made at a single Institution. A biomedical researcher independently collected and reviewed the data. ODI, back and leg VAS and SF-36 were the outcome measures used preoperatively, postoperatively and at 6-, 12- and 24-month follow-up. 212/240 (91%) patients completed the 24-month follow-up period. VAS back and leg, ODI and SF36 scores showed clinically and statistically significant improvements within groups without significant difference among groups throughout follow-up. Dural tears, root injuries and recurrent herniations were significantly more common in group 1. Wound infections were similar in group 2 and 3, but did not affect patients in group 1. Overall costs were significantly higher in group 1 and lower in group 3. In conclusion, outcome measures are equivalent 2 years following lumbar discectomy with micro-endoscopy, microscopy or open technique, but severe complications are more likely and costs higher with micro-endoscopy.
PMCID: PMC2899770  PMID: 20127495
Lumbar disc herniation; Discectomy; Microdiscectomy; Micro-endoscopic discectomy
24.  The effect of standard lumbar discectomy on segmental motion: 5-year follow-up using radiostereometry 
International Orthopaedics  2005;29(2):83-87.
We measured the effects of lumbar discectomy on segmental motion over a period of 5 years. Twenty-four patients with lumbar disc herniation were treated by standard lumbar discectomy at the L4–L5 or L5–S1 level. Peroperatively, tantalum markers were inserted into L4, L5, and the sacrum. Radiostereometric analysis was performed at discharge from hospital and 5 years postoperatively. The treated level was compared with the corresponding untreated level. Thus, patients who had discectomy at the L4–L5 level served as controls for patients with L5–S1 lesions and vice versa. The relative rotation and translation in relation to the three cardinal axes were calculated. Inducible displacements over the two discs were calculated between the supine and standing positions. At the L4–L5 level, there were no differences in inducible displacements between the operated and control levels at discharge or 5 years postoperatively. At the L5–S1 level we found decreasing inducible movement in the sagittal plane over time for discectomy patients. The reason for decreasing mobility over time after discectomy at the L5–S1 but not at the L4–L5 level is unknown. Mechanical factors caused by the more vertical orientation of the L5–S1 disc in combination with degenerative changes could be one explanation.
PMCID: PMC3474512  PMID: 15739065
25.  Endoscopic decompression for intraforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression 
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcome of endoscopic decompression surgery for intraforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression in the lumbar spine.
The records from seventeen consecutive patients treated with endoscopic posterior decompression without fusion for intaforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression in the lumbar spine (7 males and 10 females, mean age: 67.9 ± 10.7 years) were retrospectively reviewed. The surgical procedures consisted of lateral or translaminal decompression with or without discectomy. The following items were investigated: 1) the preoperative clinical findings; 2) the radiologic findings including MRI and computed tomography-discography; and 3) the surgical outcome as evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association scale for lower back pain (JOA score).
All patients had neurological findings compatible with a radiculopathy, such as muscle weakness and sensory disturbance. MRI demonstrated the obliteration of the normal increased signal intensity fat in the intervertebral foramen. Ten patients out of 14 who underwent computed tomography-discography exhibited disc protrusion or herniation. Selective nerve root block was effective in all patients. During surgery, 12 patients were found to have a protruded disc or herniation that compressed the nerve root. Sixteen patients reported pain relief immediately after surgery.
Intraforaminal and extraforaminal nerve root compression is a rare but distinct pathological condition causing severe radiculopathy. Endoscopic decompression surgery is considered to be an appropriate and less invasive surgical option.
PMCID: PMC3073935  PMID: 21439083

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