Current Issue - July/August 2017 - Vol 20 Issue 5


  1. 2017;20;E737-E746Quantity of Disc Removal and Radiological Outcomes of Percutaneous Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy
    Retrospective Study
    Ji Han Heo, BS, Chi Heon Kim, MD, PhD, Chun Kee Chung, MD, PhD, Yunhee Choi, PhD, Young-Geun Seo, BS, Dong Hoi Kim, BS, Sung Bae Park, MD, Jung Hyeon Moon, MD, Won Heo, MD, and Jong-Myung Jung, MD.

BACKGROUND: Herniated intervertebral disc disease (HIVD) is a common cause of lower back and leg pain. Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD) is indicated when non-surgical treatments such as medication and interventions are intractable. Ruptured discs and loose fragments inside discs are removed during PELD. Nerve root decompression is usually assessed by visualizing the free movement of the traversing nerve root or epidural fat, the free passage of a probe into the epidural space, the depression of the annulus, and the removal of the expected ruptured discs and loose fragments based on preoperative magnetic resonance images (MRI). However, these criteria are subjective, and the quantity of the disc removal necessary for successful outcomes after PELD has not been investigated.

OBJECTIVES: The present study investigates the amount of discectomy of PELD and its clinical and radiological outcomes.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective case study (IRB Number H-1611-015-803).

SETTING: University Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.

METHODS: PELD was performed in 109 consecutive patients (M:F = 53:56; mean age, 37.4 years) using the transforaminal or interlaminar route. Ruptured disc fragments were first removed in all patients, and the graspable loose fragments under the disc were removed. After surgery, all removed disc fragments were placed into disposable syringes and manually compressed to measure their volume. The volume of herniated disc outside the disc boundary was calculated in MRI. The measured and calculated disc volumes were retrospectively compared. Clinical success was defined as an improvement in both the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and leg pain, as well as no recurrent symptoms. Radiological success was defined as the disappearance of herniated disc material outside the disc boundary based on postoperative MRI taken within one day after surgery. The follow-up period was 7.2 ± 5.2 months.

RESULTS: Successful clinical outcomes were obtained in 96/109 (88.1%) patients in a median time of 3 months. Re-operation was performed in 3 patients due to recurrent discs in 2 patients and a residual disc in one patient. Predictors of clinical success were not identified, and the quantity of the removed disc was not associated with the clinical outcome.

Radiological success was achieved in 93/109 (85.3%) patients. Of 13 patients with radiological failure, 2 patients showed clinical failure. A logistic regression analysis showed that the relative volume of the removed disc (%) compared with the volume of preoperative herniated disc based on the MRI was the only significant predictor (P < 0.001; OR = 0.96). When 100% of the calculated disc amount was removed during the operation, the probability of residual disc was 30%. When 131% of the calculated disc amount was removed, the probability of residual disc was 10%.

LIMITATIONS: This study employed a retrospective design, and its inherent selection bias and limited statistical power should be considered.

CONCLUSIONS: The amount of disc removal during PELD was not a significant predictor of clinical success after the primary ruptured fragments were removed. The relative volume of the removed disc based on the preoperative MRI might predict the postoperative MRI.

KEY WORDS: Disc, lumbar vertebra, discectomy, surgery, endoscopy, volume