The authors sought to investigate the efficiency of percutaneous endoscopic discectomy (PED) in adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation (LDH), compare PED outcomes in adolescent patients with those in young adult LDH patients as controls, and discuss relevant technical notes.
This was a retrospective study involving 19 adolescent LDH patients (age > 13 and < 18 years, 20 discectomies) and 38 young adults (age < 40 years, 38 discectomies) who also had LDH and were matched to the adolescent group for sex and body mass index. The combined cohort included 51 male patients (89.5%) and 6 female patients (10.5%), with an average age of 26.7 years (range 14–39 years). The operated levels included L3–4 in 1 patient (1.7%), L4–5 in 22 patients (37.9%), and L5–S1 in 35 patients (60.4%). Two adolescents (10.5%) exhibited apophyseal ring separation and one (5.3%) had had previous PED. All patients underwent PED under local anesthesia. Outcomes were evaluated through a visual analog scale (VAS), the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system, and the modified MacNab grading system.
The mean duration of follow-up was 41.7 months (range 36–65 months). The outcomes in adolescents were satisfactory and comparable with previously reported outcomes of microsurgical discectomy (MD) and conventional open discectomy (COD). The adolescent patients had a faster and better recovery course than the adult patients (p < 0.01). One adolescent patient (5.3%) exhibited recurrence and 2 adults (5.3%) experienced transient dysesthesia; the complication rates were comparable in the 2 age groups (p = 0.47). Prolonged duration of symptoms (p < 0.01) and disc degeneration (p = 0.01) were correlated with lower postoperative JOA values; patients with extrusions had higher postoperative JOA values than those with protrusions (p = 0.01).
PED may yield favorable results in the treatment of adolescent LDH in terms of short- to medium-term follow-up; restricted discectomy and a conservative rehabilitation program might be advisable. Further long-term studies are warranted to address this rare disease entity.
ABBREVIATIONSBMI = body mass index; COD = conventional open discectomy; JOA = Japanese Orthopaedic Association; LDH = lumbar disc herniation; MD = microsurgical discectomy; PED = percutaneous endoscopic discectomy; VAS = visual analog scale.
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