Current Issue - March/April - Vol 20 Issue 3


  1. 2017;20;E379-E387Complications of Lumbar Disc Herniation Following Full-endoscopic Interlaminar Lumbar Discectomy: A Large, Single-Center, Retrospective Study
    Retrospective Study
    Tian-Hang Xie, MD, Jian-Cheng Zeng, MD, PhD, Zhu-Hai Li, MD, Liang Wang, MD, Hong-Fei Nie, MD, Hu-Shan Jiang, MD, Yue-Ming Song, MD, PhD, and Qing-Quan Kong, MD, PhD.

BACKGROUND: The new surgical procedure of full-endoscopic interlaminar lumbar discectomy (FILD) has achieved favorable effects in the treatment of lumbar disc herniation (LDH). Along with the wide range of applications of FILD, a series of complications related to the operation has gradually emerged.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the types, incidences, and characteristics of complications following FILD and to explore preventative and treatment measures.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective, observational study.

SETTING: A spine center affiliated with a large general hospital.

METHOD: In total, 479 patients with LDH underwent FILDs that were performed by a single experienced spine surgeon between January 2010 and April 2013. Data concerning the complications were recorded.

RESULTS: All 479 cases successfully underwent the procedure. A total of 482 procedures were completed. The mean follow-up time was 44.3 months with a range of 24 to 60 months. The average patient age was 47.8 years with a range of 16 to 76 years. Twenty-nine (6.0%) related complications emerged, including 3 cases (0.6%) of incomplete decompression in which the symptoms gradually decreased following 3 – 6 weeks of conservative treatment, 2 cases (0.4%) of nerve root injury in which the patients recovered well following 1 – 3 months of neurotrophic drug and functional exercise treatment, 15 cases (3.1%) of paresthesia that gradually improved following 1 – 8 weeks of rehabilitation exercises and treatment with mecobalamin and pregabalin, and 9 cases of recurrent herniation (1.9%). The latter condition was controlled in 4 cases with a conservative method, and 5 of these cases underwent reoperations that included 3 traditional open surgeries and 2 FILDs. Furthermore, the complication rate for the first 100 cases was 18%. This rate decreased to 2.9% for cases 101 – 479. The incidence of L4-5 herniation (8.2%) was significantly greater than that of L5-S1 (4.5%).

LIMITATIONS: This is a retrospective study, and some bias exists due to the single-center study design.

CONCLUSION: FILD is a surgical approach that has a low complication rate. Incomplete decompression, nerve root injury, paresthesia, and recurrent herniation were observed in our study. Some effective measures can prevent and reduce the incidence of the complications including strict indications for surgery, a thorough action plan, and a high level of surgical skill.

Key words: Complication, lumbar disc herniation, lumbar discectomy, endoscopic, inter-laminar discectomy, minimally invasive spine surgery