BACKGROUND: In recent years, a number of minimally invasive nuclear decompression techniques for lumbar disc prolapse, protrusion, and/or herniation have been introduced, including the Dekompressor® a device utilizing an Archimedes screw. The primary goal of the surgical treatment of nerve root compression from a disc protrusion continues to be the relief of compression by removing the herniated nuclear material with open discectomy. However, poor results have been reported for contained disc herniations with open surgical interventions. The results with several alternative techniques including the Dekompressor, automated percutaneous discectomy, and laser discectomy have been described, but are not convincing. There is a paucity of evidence for all decompression techniques.
STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review of the mechanical disc decompression with Dekompressor literature.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this systematic review is to evaluate the clinical effectiveness of the Dekompressor, a high rotation per minute device utilizing an Archimedes screw, used in mechanical lumbar disc decompression.
METHODS: The literature search was conducted utilizing a comprehensive strategy for mechanical disc decompression utilizing the Dekompressor. A literature search was conducted using only English language literature in a comprehensive search of databases including PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, along with systematic reviews, and cross-references from reviews, systematic reviews, and individual articles. The quality of the manuscripts included was evaluated according to Cochrane review criteria for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and for observational studies with the criteria developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
The level of evidence developed by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) was utilized in this review. The evidence was classified as Level I, II, or III with 3 subcategories in Level II for a total of 5 levels of evidence.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Pain relief was the primary outcome measure. Other outcome measures were functional improvement, improvement of psychological status, opioid intake, and return to work.
Short-term effectiveness was defined as one year or less, whereas, long-term effectiveness was defined as greater than one year.
RESULTS: Based on USPSTF criteria the indicated level of evidence for the mechanical high RPM device or Dekompressor is Level III for short- and long-term relief.
LIMITATIONS: Lack of literature, both randomized and observational.
CONCLUSION: This systematic review illustrates Level III evidence for mechanical percutaneous disc decompression procedures with the high RPM device or Dekompressor.