Current Issue - May/June 2019 - Vol 22 Issue 3


  1. 2019;22;295-304Transforaminal Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy Versus Open Lumbar Microdiscectomy: A Comparative Cohort Study with a 5-Year Follow-Up
    Observational Study
    Yong Ahn, MD, PhD, Sang Gu Lee, MD, PhD, Seong Son, MD, and Han Joong Keum, MD.

BACKGROUND: Transforaminal endoscopic lumbar discectomy (TELD) is regarded as an effective treatment option for soft lumbar disc herniation (LDH). There have been few studies evaluating the long-term outcomes of endoscopic procedures compared with conventional surgery.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to demonstrate the clinical outcomes of TELD compared with those of open lumbar microdiscectomy.

STUDY DESIGN: Between January 2009 and September 2011, 335 consecutive patients with symptomatic LDH were treated with decompressive discectomy, either TELD or open microdiscectomy. Patients were prospectively entered into the clinical database and their records were retrospectively reviewed.

SETTING: Hospital and outpatient surgical center.

METHODS: Data from 298 patients who were treated with decompressive discectomy, either TELD or open microdiscectomy, were evaluated with a minimum 5-year follow-up period. Among them, 146 patients were treated using TELD (TELD group), and the remaining 152 patients using open microdiscectomy (Open group). Perioperative data and clinical outcomes were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS), the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the modified Macnab criteria.

RESULTS: The VAS and ODI significantly improved in both groups. The rate of excellent or good outcomes was 88.36% and 87.5% in the TELD and Open group, respectively. The reoperation rate was 4.2% and 3.3% in the TELD and Open group, respectively. There were no significant differences in the clinical outcomes; however, operative time, hospital stay, and time to return to work were significantly shorter in the TELD group (P < 0.01).

LIMITATIONS: First, the patient selection was not randomized; therefore, the risk of bias might be increased. Second, this study lacks analysis of the radiographic changes related to the degenerative change over the long-term follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS: The long-term results of TELD for soft LDH are comparable to those of conventional open microdiscectomy. The selective endoscopic discectomy technique under local anesthesia provides the typical advantages of minimally invasive procedures such as a shorter operation time, hospital stay, and recovery time.

KEY WORDS: Endoscopic, discectomy, hospital stay, lumbar disc, microscopic, operative time, return to work, transforaminal