Factors such as driving motor vehicles, sedentary occupations, vibration, smoking, previous full-term pregnancies, physical inactivity, increased body mass index (BMI), and a tall stature are associated with symptomatic disc herniations. Fitness and strength is postulated to protect an individual from disc rupture. The objective of our study was to determine the pain levels and differences of functional and economic situations of patients who had undergone one or more than one operation due to lumbar disc herniation and to put forward the effect of risk factors that may be potential, especially from the aspect of undergoing reoperation. Patients who had undergone one (n=46) or more than one operation (n=34) due to lumbar disc herniation were included in the study. It was a prospective study with evaluation on the day the patients were discharged and at second and sixth months after lumbar disc operation. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was used in determining the functional disability associated with back pain; the Prolo Functional Economic Rating Scale (Prolo scale) was used in determining the effect of back pain on functional and economic situations. In the ODI measurements made in the postoperative second and sixth months, significant differences appeared in favor of patients who had undergone one operation (p<0.05). According to the Prolo scale, it was found that the economic situation was better in the sixth month and the functional situation was better in the second and sixth months in patients having undergone one operation (p<0.05). The logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the lack of regular physical exercise was a significant predictor for reoperation (OR, 4.595; CI, 1.38–15.28), whereas gender, age, BMI, occupation, or smoking did not indicate so much significance as regular exercise.
Lumbar disc surgery; Reoperations; Risk factors; Exercise
Study Design: A randomized, double-blind, active controlled trial.
Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of cervical interlaminar epidural injections of local anesthetic with or without steroids in the management of chronic neck pain and upper extremity pain in patients with disc herniation and radiculitis.
Summary of Background Data: Epidural injections in managing chronic neck and upper extremity pain are commonly employed interventions. However, their long-term effectiveness, indications, and medical necessity, of their use and their role in various pathologies responsible for persistent neck and upper extremity pain continue to be debated, even though, neck and upper extremity pain secondary to disc herniation and radiculitis, is described as the common indication. There is also paucity of high quality literature.
Methods: One-hundred twenty patients were randomly assigned to one of 2 groups: Group I patients received cervical interlaminar epidural injections of local anesthetic (lidocaine 0.5%, 5 mL); Group II patients received 0.5% lidocaine, 4 mL, mixed with 1 mL of nonparticulate betamethasone.
Primary outcome measure was ≥ 50 improvement in pain and function. Outcome assessments included Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), opioid intake, employment, and changes in weight.
Results: Significant pain relief and functional status improvement (≥ 50%) was demonstrated in 72% of patients who received local anesthetic only and 68% who received local anesthetic and steroids. In the successful group of participants, significant improvement was illustrated in 77% in local anesthetic group and 82% in local anesthetic with steroid group.
Conclusions: Cervical interlaminar epidural injections with or without steroids may provide significant improvement in pain and function for patients with cervical disc herniation and radiculitis.
Chronic neck pain; cervical disc herniation; upper extremity pain; cervical epidural injections; epidural steroids; local anesthetics
This prospective-controlled observational study looked at well-matched patients with spinal pain and radicular symptoms, caused by lumbar intervertebral disc herniation to compare the short-term clinical outcome of transforaminal and interlaminar epidural steroid injection (ESI) in a resource challenged tertiary institution in Nigeria.
Materials and Methods:
49 patients with radicular symptoms who were matched for age, symptom duration, magnetic resonance imaging findings, and pre-injection revised Oswentry Disability Index (ODI) score and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) were assigned into ESI technique. The ODI and VAS score were analyzed immediately after an injection and upon follow-up (average 178.5 days), also with the need for repeated injections and surgical interventions over a 1-year follow-up interval.
In the transforaminal group (25 patients), there was a statistically significant improvement in the ODI scores from before the injection (ODI mean 62.4) to immediately after the injection (ODI mean 24.4, P < 0.01), and upon follow-up (ODI mean 20.8, P < 0.01). 9 patients (18.4%) required 1 or 2 repeated injections, 3 (6.1%) patients underwent surgery and 2 (4%) patients lost to follow-up. In the interlaminar group (24 patients), there was a statistically significant improvement in the ODI scores from before the injection (ODI mean 60.7) to immediately after the injection (ODI mean 30.1, P < 0.01), but not upon follow-up (ODI mean 43.2, P = 0.09). 11 (22.4%) patients required 1 or 2 repeated injection, 4 (8%) patients underwent surgery and 3 (6.1%) patients were lost to follow-up. There is an average of 2 fold improvement of transforaminal ESI over interlaminar ESI in a 40 point scale of ODI score on follow-up, which was statistically significant (P < 0.01). The VAS showed similar pattern with the ODI scores in the study.
Transforaminal ESI to treat symptomatic lumbar disc herniation resulted in better short-term pain improvement and fewer long-term surgical interventions compared to interlaminar ESI.
Epidural injections; oswentry disability index; spinal pain
The median orthopedic surgery wait time in Canada is 33.7 weeks, thus alternative treatments for pathologies such as lumbar disc herniations (LDH) are needed. We sought to determine whether transforaminal epidural steroid injections (TFESIs) alleviate or merely delay the need for surgery.
We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients with LDH who received TFESIs between September 2006 and July 2008. Patient demographics, level and side of pathology, workers’ compensation status, levels injected, treatment outcome and time from referral to treatment were evaluated. The primary outcome measure was the need for versus the avoidance of surgery.
We included 91 patients in our analysis. Time from family physician referral to injection was 123 (standard deviation [SD] 88) days; no significant differences in wait times were found between TFESI patients and those requiring surgery. In all, 51 patients (22 women, 29 men) with a mean age of 45.8 (SD 10.2) years avoided surgery following TFESI, whereas 40 patients (16 women, 24 mean) with a mean age of 43.1 (SD 12.0) years proceeded to surgery within 189 (SD 125) days postinjection. In all, 15 patients received multiple injections, and of these, 9 did not require surgical intervention. Age, sex and level/side of pathology did not influence the treatment outcome. Workers’ compensation status influenced outcome significantly; these patients demonstrated less benefit from TFESI.
Transforaminal epidural steroid injections are an important treatment tool, preventing the need for surgery in 56% of patients with LDH.
We wanted to investigate the relationship between the magnetic resonance (MR) findings and the clinical outcome after treatment with non-surgical transforaminal epidural steroid injections (ESI) for lumbar herniated intervertebral disc (HIVD) patients.
Materials and Methods
Transforaminal ESI were performed in 91 patients (50 males and 41 females, age range: 13-78 yrs) because of lumbosacral HIVD from March 2001 to August 2002. Sixty eight patients whose MRIs and clinical follow-ups were available were included in this study. The medical charts were retrospectively reviewed and the patients were divided into two groups; the successful (responders, n = 41) and unsatisfactory (non-responders, n = 27) outcome groups. A successful outcome required a patient satisfaction score greater than two and a pain reduction score greater than 50%. The MR findings were retrospectively analyzed and compared between the two groups with regard to the type (protrusion, extrusion or sequestration), hydration (the T2 signal intensity), location (central, right/left central, subarticular, foraminal or extraforaminal), and size (volume) of the HIVD, the grade of nerve root compression (grade 1 abutment, 2 displacement and 3 entrapment), and an association with spinal stenosis.
There was no significant difference between the responders and non-responders in terms of the type, hydration and size of the HIVD, or an association with spinal stenosis (p> 0.05). However, the location of the HIVD and the grade of nerve root compression were different between the two groups (p< 0.05).
MRI could play an important role in predicting the clinical outcome of non-surgical transforaminal ESI treatment for patients with lumbar HIVD.
Spine, intervertebral disks; Spine, MR
Background and purpose
Several studies have investigated outcomes after disc surgery. However, the occurrence of kinesiophobia has not been investigated previously in patients after disc herniation surgery. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated kinesiophobia in patients who had been treated surgically for lumbar disc herniation, and we related the results to established outcome measures.
Patients and methods
10–34 months after surgery, questionnaires were sent to 97 patients who had undergone standardized open discectomy. Outcome measures included Tampa scale for kinesiophobia (TSK); Oswestry disability index (ODI); European quality of life in 5 dimensions (EQ-5D); visual analog scale (VAS) for leg and back pain, work disability, and patient satisfaction; Zung self-rating depression scale (ZDS); pain catastrophizing scale (PCS); and a self-efficacy scale (SES).
36 of 80 patients reported having kinesiophobia. There were statistically significant differences in ODI, EQ-5D, VAS leg and back pain, ZDS, PCS, and SES between patients with and without kinesiophobia.
Half of the patients suffered from kinesiophobia 10–34 months after surgery for disc herniation. These patients were more disabled, had more pain, more catastrophizing thoughts, more symptoms of depression, lower self-efficacy, and poorer health-related quality of life than patients without kinesiophobia.
Background and Objectives
Previous studies have concluded that transforaminal epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are more effective than interlaminar injections in the treatment of radiculopathies due to lumbar intervertebral disk herniation. There are no published studies examining the depth of epidural space using a transforaminal approach. We investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the depth of the epidural space during lumbar transforaminal ESIs.
Eighty-six consecutive patients undergoing lumbar transforaminal ESI at the L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 levels were studied. Using standard protocol, the foraminal epidural space was attained using fluoroscopic guidance. The measured distance from needle tip to skin was recorded (depth to foraminal epidural space). The differences in the needle depth and BMI were analyzed using regression analysis.
Needle depth was positively associated with BMI (regression coefficient [RC], 1.13; P < 0.001). The median depths (in centimeters) to the epidural space were 6.3, 7.5, 8.4, 10.0, 10.4, and 12.2 for underweight, normal, preobese, obese I, obese II, and obese III classifications, respectively. Sex (RC, 1.3; P = 0.02) and race (RC, 0.8; P = 0.04) were also significantly associated with needle depth; however, neither factor remained significant when BMI was accounted as a covariate in the regression model. Age, intervertebral level treated, and oblique angle had no predictive value on foraminal depth (P > 0.2).
There is a positive association between BMI and transforaminal epidural depth, but not with age, sex, race, oblique angle, or intervertebral level.
Failed back surgery syndrome is characterized by the presence of intractable pain and varying degrees of functional incapacity after lumbar spine surgery. Because the mechanisms that cause pain are variable, treatment of this syndrome is quite difficult, and one of the most common methods that is used for treatment nowadays is epidural injection. This research evaluates the analgesic efficacy of addition of oral gabapentin treatment to epidural corticosteroid application in patients with failed back surgery syndromes.
Forty-two patients, including 23 females and 19 males, with failed back surgery syndrome who had been previously operated on at least twice due to lumbar disc herniation were randomly divided into two groups. Following epidural application of a single dose of methylprednisolone in the first group of patients (Group K), an oral medical treatment containing naproxen sodium, tizanidine, and vitamin B and C complex, was devised to be applied for one month. For the second group, oral gabapentin was added to the same treatment regime (Group G). Pain levels were evaluated by a visual analog scale for straight leg raise before, during, and after treatment, as well as in the first and third months.
There was no demographically significant difference between the patients (P > 0.05). After the beginning of treatment, it was observed that the pain level in Group G patients regressed earlier and that it progressed at a significantly lower level (both in the first and third month controls).
It was concluded that addition of oral gabapentin to epidural corticosteroid application in patients with failed back surgery syndromes was effective in ameliorating pain at an early stage without significant side effects.
failed back surgery syndrome; epidural corticosteroid; gabapentin
This is a retrospective study.
We wanted to examine the clinical and radiological prognostic factors affecting the postoperative clinical outcome of patients with lumbar disc herniation and who underwent open discectomy.
Overview of Literature
Conventional open discectomy has been widely used as a treatment regimen for the management of lumbar disc herniation. Still, much controversy exists regarding the factors that affect the postoperative clinical outcomes.
The current study was conducted on 40 patients who were diagnosed with lumbar disc herniation by the senior surgeon of our department from March 2004 to June 2007. These patients were refractory to conservative treatment and they could be followed up for more than one year following their surgical treatments. Preoperatively, after postoperative year 1 and at the final follow-up, a comparison was made for the Oswestry disability index (ODI) scores and the visual analogue scale (VAS) scores that indicated low back pain and radiating pain. For identifying prognostic factors, an analysis was also performed for such factors as age, gender, the operated level, the duration of preoperative low back pain and radiating pain, a smoking history, the body mass index and whether the surgery was revision or the primary operation. A radiological analysis, based on the preoperative plain flexion-extension radiography, was performed for the presence of mild segmental instability of < 3 mm, spondylolysis and disc space narrowing. Pfirrmann's degenerative grade of the disc, the degree of herniation and whether a herniation was central or massive on the magnetic resonance imaging scans.
At the final follow-up, the ODI was significantly higher in the cases of revision as compared with the cases of primary operation. The female gender also had a tendency for a poor ODI as compared with that of the men, but this had only borderline statistical significance. There was significant correlation between the preoperative ODI and the preoperative VAS indicating radiating pain. At a final follow up, the low back pain VAS score was significantly lower in the extruded cases as compared with that of the protruded or sequestrated cases.
Following an analysis for detecting the prognostic factors of open discectomy, the final clinical outcome was found to be poor for the revision surgery cases. In regard to the type of herniation, the degree of low back pain was relatively lower at a final follow-up for the extruded cases as compared with that for the protruded or sequestrated cases. Open discectomy surgery should be performed after evaluating the patients' various prognostic factors that could affect the final clinical outcome.
Lumbar disc herniation; Open discectomy; Clinical outcome; Prognostic factor
The cost and utility of surgery for a herniated lumbar disc has not been determined simultaneously in a single cohort. The aim of this study is to perform a cost–utility analysis of surgical and nonsurgical treatment of patients with lumbar disc herniation. Ninety-two individuals in a cohort of 1,146 Swedish subjects underwent lumbar disc herniation surgery during a 2-year study. Each person operated on was individually matched with one treated conservatively. The effects and costs of the treatments were determined individually. By estimating quality of life before and after the treatment, the number of quality adjusted life years (QALY) gained with and without surgery was calculated. The medical costs were much higher for surgical treatment; however, the total costs, including disability costs, were lower among those treated surgically. Surgery meant fewer recurrences and less permanent disability benefits. The gain in QALY was ten times higher among those operated. Lower total costs and better utility resulted in a better cost utility for surgical treatment. Surgery for lumbar disc herniation was cost-effective. The total costs for surgery were lower due to lower recurrence rates and fewer disability benefits, and surgery improved quality of life much more than nonsurgical treatments.
Disc herniation; Surgery; Utility; QALY; Cost-effectiveness
Chronic low back pain without disc herniation is common. Various modalities of treatments are utilized in managing this condition, including epidural injections. However, there is continued debate on the effectiveness, indications, and medical necessity of any treatment modality utilized for managing axial or discogenic pain, including epidural injections.
A randomized, double-blind, actively controlled trial was conducted. The objective was to evaluate the ability to assess the effectiveness of caudal epidural injections of local anesthetic with or without steroids for managing chronic low back pain not caused by disc herniation, radiculitis, facet joints, or sacroiliac joints. A total of 120 patients were randomized to two groups; one group did not receive steroids (group 1) and the other group did (group 2). There were 60 patients in each group. The primary outcome measure was at least 50% improvement in Numeric Rating Scale and Oswestry Disability Index. Secondary outcome measures were employment status and opioid intake. These measures were assessed at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after treatment.
Significant pain relief and functional status improvement (primary outcome) defined as a 50% or more reduction in scores from baseline, were observed in 54% of patients in group 1 and 60% of patients in group 2 at 24 months. In contrast, 84% of patients in group 1 and 73% in group 2 saw significant pain relief and functional status improvement in the successful groups at 24 months.
Caudal epidural injections of local anesthetic with or without steroids are effective in patients with chronic axial low back pain of discogenic origin without facet joint pain, disc herniation, and/or radiculitis.
chronic axial low back pain; discogenic pain; disc herniation; caudal epidural injections
Study Design: Retrospective case-control study.
Objective: To compare the effectiveness between caudal and trans-foraminal epidural steroid injections for the treatment of primary lumbar radiculopathy.
Summary of Background Data: Spinal injections with steroids play an important role in non-operative care of lumbar radiculopathy. The trans-foraminal epidural steroid injection (TESI) theoretically has a higher success rate based on targeted delivery to the symptomatic nerve root. To our knowledge, these results have not been compared with other techniques of epidural steroid injection.
Methods: 93 patients diagnosed with primary lumbar radiculopathy of L4, L5, or SI were recruited for this study: 39 received caudal epidural steroid injections (ESI) and 54 received trans-foraminal epidural steroid injections (TESI). Outcomes scores included the SF-36, Oswestry disability index (ODI) and pain visual analogue scale (VAS), and were recorded at baseline, post-treatment (<6 months), long-term (>1 year). The average follow-up was 2 years, and 16 patients were lost to follow-up. The endpoint “surgical intervention” was a patient-driven decision, and considered failure of treatment. Intent-to-treat analysis, and comparisons included t-test, Chi-square, and Wilcoxon rank-sum test.
Results: Baseline demographics and outcomes scores were comparable for both treatment groups (ESI vs. TESI): (SF-36 PCS (32.3 ± 7.5 vs. 29.5 ± 8.9 respectively; p = 0.173), MCS (41.2 ± 12.7 vs. 41.1 ± 10.9, respectively; p = 0.971), and VAS (7.4 ±2.1 vs. 7.9 ± 1.2, respectively; p = 0.228)). Surgery was indicated for failure of treatment at a similar rate for both groups (41.0% vs. 44.4%, p=0.743). Symptom improvement was comparable between both treatment groups (ESI vs. TESI): SF-36 PCS improved to 42.0±11.8 and 37.7±12.3, respectively; p=0.49; ODI improved from 50.0±21.2 to 15.6±17.9and from 62.1±17.9 to 26.1±20.3, respectively (p=0.407).
Conclusions: The effectiveness of TESI is comparable to that of ESI (approximately 60%) for the treatment of primary lumbar radiculopathy. The increased complexity of TESI is not justified for primary cases, and may have a more specific role in recurrent disease or for diagnostic purposes.
Herniated intervertebral disc causes in a great number of cases of lumbar nerve root compression, especially in the segment L5/S1. Other reasons responsible for stress to the lumbar spinal root are the spinal canal stenosis and the postdiscotomy syndrome. For patients without neurological deficiencies, the conservative treatment includes different epidural injection techniques. Steroids are often applied. A specific injection technique needing only a small drug amount is the epidural perineural approach using a special two-needle technique. The anatomical spaces of the nerve roots have received little attention in therapy. We have determined the anterolateral epidural space nerve volume of the nerve root L5/S1, and compared the data collected in an anatomical study with operative measurements during discectomy. The volume determination in the human cadavers was performed with liquid silicone filling the anterolateral space after dissection. The in vivo measurements were performed during surgery at the site of the anterolateral space after discectomy. The anatomical studies showed us a mean value volume of 1.1 ml. The surgical volume determinations result in a mean volume of 0.9 ml. A better understanding of the anterolateral epidural space may allow a reduction of the injection volume in the conservative nerve root compression treatment, especially using the epidural perineural technique, avoiding the risk of side effects of high doses of steroids.
Lumbar nerve root compression; Anatomical volume determination; Epidural–perineural injection technique
We report a series of epidural hematomas which cause neurologic deterioration after spinal surgery, and have taken risk factors and prognostic factors into consideration. We retrospectively reviewed the database of 3720 cases of spine operation in a single institute over 7 years (1998 April-2005 July). Nine patients who demonstrated neurologic deterioration after surgery and required surgical decompression were identified. Factors postulated to increase the postoperative epidural hematoma and to improve neurologic outcome were investigated. The incidence of postoperative epidural hematoma was 0.24%. Operation sites were cervical 3 cases, thoracic 2 cases, and lumbar 4 cases. Their original diagnoses were tumor 3 cases, cervical stenosis 2 cases, lumbar stenosis 3 cases and herniated lumbar disc 1case. The symptoms of epidural hematomas were neurologic deterioration and pain. After decompression, clinical outcome revealed complete recovery in 3 cases (33.3%), incomplete recovery in 5 cases (55.6%) and no change in 1 case (11.1%). Factors increasing the risk of postoperative epidural hematoma were coagulopathy from medical illness or anticoagulation therapy (4 cases, 44.4%) and highly vascularized tumor (3 cases, 33.3%). The time interval to evacuation of complete recovery group (29.3 hours) was shorter than incomplete recovery group (66.3 hours). Patients with coagulopathy and highly vascularized tumor were more vulnerable to spinal epidural hematoma. The postoperative outcome was related to the preoperative neurological deficit and the time interval to the decompression.
Clinical outcome; risk factor; postoperative; spinal epidural hematoma; spine surgery
Among the multiple causes of chronic low back pain, axial and discogenic pain are common. Various modalities of treatments are utilized in managing discogenic and axial low back pain including epidural injections. However, there is a paucity of evidence regarding the effectiveness, indications, and medical necessity of any treatment modality utilized for managing axial or discogenic pain, including epidural injections. In an interventional pain management practice in the US, a randomized, double-blind, active control trial was conducted. The objective was to assess the effectiveness of lumbar interlaminar epidural injections of local anesthetic with or without steroids for managing chronic low back pain of discogenic origin. However, disc herniation, radiculitis, facet joint pain, or sacroiliac joint pain were excluded. Two groups of patients were studied, with 60 patients in each group receiving either local anesthetic only or local anesthetic mixed with non-particulate betamethasone. Primary outcome measures included the pain relief-assessed by numeric rating scale of pain and functional status assessed by the, Oswestry Disability Index, Secondary outcome measurements included employment status, and opioid intake. Significant improvement or success was defined as at least a 50% decrease in pain and disability. Significant improvement was seen in 77% of the patients in Group I and 67% of the patients in Group II. In the successful groups (those with at least 3 weeks of relief with the first two procedures), the improvement was 84% in Group I and 71% in Group II. For those with chronic function-limiting low back pain refractory to conservative management, it is concluded that lumbar interlaminar epidural injections of local anesthetic with or without steroids may be an effective modality for managing chronic axial or discogenic pain. This treatment appears to be effective for those who have had facet joints as well as sacroiliac joints eliminated as the pain source.
lumbar disc herniation; axial or discogenic pain; lumbar interlaminar epidural injections; local anesthetic; steroids; controlled comparative local anesthetic blocks; NCT00681447
Neurological deficits following epidural or spinal anesthesia are extremely rare. Transient paraplegia following epidural anesthesia in a patient with thoracic disc herniation has been presented. A 44-year-old woman developed paraplegia during the operation for vascular surgery of her legs under epidural anesthesia. Epidural hematoma or spinal cord ischemia was ruled out by magnetic resonance imaging of the thoracic and lumbar spine in which protruded disc at T11-12 level compressing the spinal cord has been verified. Patient responded well to steroid treatment and rehabilitation interventions. Physicians should be aware of preceding disc protrusions, which may have detrimental effects on spinal cord perfusion, as a cause of persistent or transient paraplegia before epidural anesthesia procedure. MRI is a valuable imaging option to rule out epidural anesthesia complications and coexisting pathologies like disc herniations.
In order to assess the efficacy of epidural steroid injections (ESI) in acute and subacute pain due to lumbar spine disk herniation, we conducted a randomized trial, comparing 2 different protocols. Fourty patients with radicular pain due to L4-L5 and L5-S1 disc herniation were assigned to receive either 3 consecutive ESI every 24 hours through a spinal catheter (group A) or 3 consecutive ESI every 10 days with an epidural needle (group B). All patients had improved Oswestry Disabilty Index (ODI) and the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain scores at 1 month of follow-up compared to baseline, while no significant differences were observed between the 2 groups. The scores for group B were statistically significant lower at 2 months of follow-up compared to those of group A. The improvement in the scores of group B was continuous since the mean scores at 2 months of follow up were lower compared to the respective scores at 1 month. Protocol B (3 consecutive ESI every 10 days) was found more effective in the treatment of subacute pain compared to Protocol A (3 consecutive ESI every 24 hours) with statistically significant differences in the ODI and VAS scores at 2 months of follow-up.
Low back pain; radicular pain; lumbar spine; disk herniation; epidural injections.
The effectiveness of surgery in patients with sciatica due to lumbar disc herniations is not without dispute. The goal of this study was to assess the effects of surgery versus conservative therapy (including epidural injections) for patients with sciatica due to lumbar disc herniation. A comprehensive search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, CENTRAL, and PEDro up to October 2009. Randomised controlled trials of adults with lumbar radicular pain, which evaluated at least one clinically relevant outcome measure (pain, functional status, perceived recovery, lost days of work) were included. Two authors assessed risk of bias according to Cochrane criteria and extracted the data. In total, five studies were identified, two of which with a low risk of bias. One study compared early surgery with prolonged conservative care followed by surgery if needed; three studies compared surgery with usual conservative care, and one study compared surgery with epidural injections. Data were not pooled because of clinical heterogeneity and poor reporting of data. One large low-risk-of-bias trial demonstrated that early surgery in patients with 6–12 weeks of radicular pain leads to faster pain relief when compared with prolonged conservative treatment, but there were no differences after 1 and 2 years. Another large low-risk-of-bias trial between surgery and usual conservative care found no statistically significant differences on any of the primary outcome measures after 1 and 2 years. Future studies should evaluate who benefits more from surgery and who from conservative care.
Sciatica; Conservative treatment; Surgery; Discectomy; Systematic review
Recurrent lumbar disc herniation has been reported to occur in 5% to 15% of surgically treated primary lumbar disc herniation cases. We investigated the molecular biologic characteristics of primary herniated discs and recurrent discs to see whether the recurrent discs has the similar biological features with primary herniated discs.
Primary herniated disc and recurrent disc cells were obtained by discectomy of lumbar disc patients and cells were isolated and then taken through monolayer cultures. We compared chondrogenic and osteogenic mRNA gene expression, and western blot between the two groups.
The mRNA gene expression of recurrent disc cells were increased 1.47* times for aggrecan, 1.38 times for type I collagen, 2.04 times for type II collagen, 1.22 times for both Sox-9 and osteocalcin, and 1.31 times for alkaline phosphatase, respectively, compared with the primary herniated lumbar disc cells (*indicates p < 0.05). Western blot results for each aggrecan, type I collagen, type II collagen, Sox-9, osteocalcin, and alkaline phosphatase were similar between the primary herniated disc cells and recurrent disc cells.
These results indicate that the recurrent disc cells have similar chondrogenic and osteogenic gene expression compared to primary herniated disc cells. Therefore, we assumed that the regeneration of remaining discs could fill the previous discectomy space and also it could be one of the factors for disc recurrence especially in the molecular biologic field.
Recurrent disc; Aggrecan; Collagen; Sox-9; Osteocalcin; Alkaline phosphatase
A retrospective study
This study examined the reliability of the MRI findings in detecting symptomatic extraforaminal disc herniation in the lumbar spine.
Overview of Literature
There are no reports of the characteristics and reliable MRI findings of extraforaminal disc herniation.
Thirty age-and gender-matched asymptomatic volunteers and 30 patients with symptomatic extraforaminal disc herniation, who underwent surgery between March 2006 and Dec 2008, were enrolled in this study. All subjects underwent spinal MRI. The following parameters were evaluated: the presence or absence of focal eccentricity of the disc, change in the diameter of the nerve root, and displacement of the nerve root at the extraforaminal zones. Radiologic studies were reviewed blindly and independently by 3 spine surgeons.
The overall agreement in determining the presence or absence of a symptomatic extraforaminal disc herniation between the three reviewers was 89.4% (161/180). The consensus showed focal eccentricity of the disc in 33 cases (55%), a change in diameter in the nerve root in 31 cases (51.7%), and a displacement of the nerve root in 23 cases (38.3%). An assessment of the paired intraobserver and interobserver reliability revealed mean Kappa statistics of 0.833 and 0.667 for focal eccentricity of the disc, 0.656 and 0.556 for a change in the diameter of the nerve root, and 0.669 and 0.020 for a displacement of the nerve root, respectively.
There are three possible MRI findings that can be used to determine the presence or absence of symptomatic extraforaminal disc herniation. Among these MRI findings, focal eccentricity of the disc was found to be the most reliable.
Extraforaminal; Disc herniation; Lumbar spine; Magnetic resonance imaging; Reliability
A retrospective study.
To assess the radiological, clinical features and surgical outcomes of six patients of elementary school age with lumbar disc herniation (LDH).
Overview of Literature
LDH is common in people in their fourth and fifth decades. However, the condition is extremely rare in children of elementary school age. Moreover, the clinical symptoms and treatments are different from those of adults.
We reviewed a series of 6 patients under the age of 12 years, who underwent surgery for LDH at our institution between 1992-2002. Initially, all patients were treated conservatively. The indications for surgery were failure of conservative treatment for 3 months, intractable pain and/or progressive neurological impairment.
The surgical findings revealed a protruding disc in five cases and a ruptured disc in one. In addition, separation of the vertebral ring apophysis was observed in 3 cases. The symptoms had disappeared completely at the last follow-up. At the last follow-up, the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score was 10 points in 5 cases and 9 points in 1, and the Kirkaldy-Willis criteria was excellent in all patients. No intervertebral disc space narrowing was observed in any patient at last follow up. In addition, there were no degenerative changes in the vertebral endplate and facet joint.
Patients with symptoms that persist for more than 3 months or those with a progressive neurological deficit must be considered for surgical discectomy.
Lumbar disc herniation; Elementary school age
To compare the short-term effects and advantages of transforaminal epidural steroid injection (TFESI) performed using the conventional (CL) and posterolateral (PL) approaches.
Fifty patients with lumbar radicular pain from lumbar spinal stenosis and herniated lumbar disc were enrolled. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups (CL or PL group). All procedures were performed using a C-arm (KMC 950, KOMED, Kwangju, Kyunggi, Korea). We compared the frequency of complications during the procedure and the effects of the pain block between the two groups at 2, 4, and 12 weeks after the procedure.
There were no significant differences in the demographic data, initial VNS (Visual numeric scale), or ODI (Oswestry disability index) between the CL group (n=26) and the PL group (n=24). There was no statistically significant difference in the outcome measures (VNS and ODI) between the groups at 2, 4, or 12 weeks. Symptoms of nerve root irritation occurred in 1 case of the CL group and in 7 cases of the PL group (p<0.05). Pricking of spinal nerve during the procedure and transient weakness after the procedure occurred in 6 cases and 3 cases, respectively in the CL group, but did not occur in the PL group.
Our findings suggest that the posterolateral approach represents an alternative TFESI method in cases with difficult needle tip positioning in the anterior epidural space, and could lower the risk of target nerve root irritation and nerve penetration.
Transforaminal; Conventional; Posterolateral; Injection
Intracranial hemorrhage is a serious but rare complication of spinal surgery, which can occur in the intracerebral, cerebellar, epidural, or subdural compartment.
To describe patients with intracranial hemorrhage after lumbar spinal surgery and present clinical and diagnostic imaging findings.
In this retrospective study, medical records of 1,077 patients who underwent lumbar spinal surgery in our tertiary referral neurosurgery center between January 2003 and September 2010 were studied. The original presentations of the patients before the surgical intervention were herniated lumbar disc, spinal canal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, lumbar spinal trauma, and lumbar spine and epidural tumor. The operations performed consisted of discectomy, multiple level laminectomy, stabilization and fusion, lumbar instrumentation, and lumbar spinal and epidural tumor resection.
Four cases developed intracranial hemorrhage including acute subdural hematoma (one case), epidural hematoma (one case), and remote cerebellar hemorrhage (two cases). The clinical and diagnostic imaging characteristics along with treatments performed and outcomes of these four patients are described and the pertinent literature regarding post-lumbar spinal surgery intracranial hemorrhages is reviewed.
Though rare, intracranial hemorrhage can occur following lumbar spinal surgery. This complication may be asymptomatic or manifest with intense headache at early stages any time during the first week after surgery. Dural tear, bloody CSF leakage, focal neurologic symptoms, and headache are indicators of potential intracranial hemorrhage, which should be considered during or following surgery and necessitate diagnostic imaging.
Intracranial hemorrhage; Lumbar spine surgery; Remote cerebellar hemorrhage; Subdural hematoma; Epidural hematoma
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is often idiopathic. We report on a patient presenting with symptomatic intracranial hypotension and pain radiating to the right leg caused by a transdural lumbar disc herniation. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the brain revealed classic signs of intracranial hypotension, and an additional spinal MR confirmed a lumbar transdural herniated disc as the cause. The patient was treated with a partial hemilaminectomy and discectomy. We were able to find the source of cerebrospinal fluid leak, and packed it with epidural glue and gelfoam. Postoperatively, the patient's headache and log radiating pain resolved and there was no neurological deficit. Thus, in this case, lumbar disc herniation may have been a cause of spontaneous intracranial hypotension.
Spontaneous intracranial hypotension; Orthostatic headache; Lumbar disc herniation
Chronic low back pain can be a manifestation of lumbar degenerative disease, herniation of intervertebral discs, arthritis, or lumbar stenosis. When nerve roots are compromised, low back pain, with or without lower extremity involvement, may occur. Local inflammatory processes play an important role in patients with acute lumbosciatic pain. The purpose of this study was to assess the value of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) measurements in patients with chronic low back pain or radiculopathy.
ESR and hsCRP were measured in 273 blood samples from male and female subjects with low back pain and/or radiculopathy due to herniated lumbar disc, spinal stenosis, facet syndrome, and other diseases. The hsCRP and ESR were measured prior to lumbar epidural steroid injection.
The mean ESR was 18.8 mm/h and mean hsCRP was 1.1 mg/L. ESR had a correlation with age.
A significant systemic inflammatory reaction did not appear to arise in patients with chronic low back pain.
ESR; hsCRP; low back pain