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Home > Archives > Volume 17, No 5 (2019) > Article

DOI: 10.14704/nq.2019.17.5.2332

Endoscopic Approach Technique for Recurrent Lumbar Prolapsed Disc

Leonello Tacconi, Enrico Giordan, Francesco Signorelli


Introduction: Recurrent disc after lumbar discectomy is not uncommon, with most of the patients requiring a new surgery. A greater bone decompression and scar tissue dissection become necessary with the new procedure, resulting in a higher chance of postoperative complications. Recently, many surgeons have begun to treat recurrent disc with endoscopic approaches, in order to reach the prolapsed disc avoiding tissue dissection. We present our up-to-dated experience on the treatment of recurrent disc by endoscopic technique. Material and methods: We prospectively collected 30 patients treated for recurrent lumbar disc prolapse, from May 2016 to December 2017, with an endoscopic procedure. We collected data on age, sex, location, diagnosis, leg pain by VAS, and degree of disability via the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and if any adverse events occurred. All patients underwent an ODI (Oswestry Disability Index) and a VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) questionnaire before the operation and after 3, 6 and 15 months [3-6] at the follow-up visit. No patients were lost at follow-up. Patients characteristics: Age at presentation ranged between 23 and 78 years with a male to female ratio of 1.5 to 1. The level treated more was L4-L5. In all cases, we performed transforaminal route access, except for two, where an interlaminar approach was necessary because of the disc fragment location. Twenty-six cases had been operated previously by microsurgical access and the remaining by an endoscopic technique. In one case the disc had recurred for a second time, requiring open revision surgery. Results: Median operative time was 52 minutes (range 44 to 79 minutes). After a median follow up of 15 months (range 15-24 months) 93% of patients were pain-free. Pain by VAS ranged from a mean value of 6.3 at admission to 1.9 at 15 months of follow-up. ODI scores went from a mean preoperative value of 59.8% to 14.6% at the same follow-up. Four patients experienced transient paresthesia along the dermatomeric distribution of the involved nerve, while 3 had an intraoperative dural tear. One patient had to undergo new revision surgery for a disc recurrence. No late adverse events occurred. Conclusions: Endoscopic discectomy might be a valuable procedure for recurrent lumbar disk prolapse treatment. Our results showed good outcomes with only a few transient complications and less postoperative pain. Also, iatrogenic mechanical instability might be avoided with this technique.


percutaneous discectomy, PELD, recurrent disc prolapse, transforaminal endoscopic discectomy, recurrent lumbar disc

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