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Taewook Kang, Si Young Park, Soon Hyuck Lee, Jong Hoon Park, and Seung Woo Suh


Biportal endoscopic spinal surgery has been performed for several years, and its effectiveness is well known; however, no studies on its safety, specifically intracranial pressure, have been conducted to date. The authors sought to evaluate the effect of biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy on intracranial pressure by monitoring cervical epidural pressure (CEP) changes throughout the procedure.


Twenty patients undergoing single-level biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy were enrolled in this study. CEPs were monitored throughout the procedure, consisting of phase 1, establishing the surgical portal and working space; phase 2, performing decompression and discectomy; and phase 3, turning off the fluid irrigation system. After discectomy was completed, the authors evaluated changes in CEP as the irrigation pressure increased serially by adding phase 4, increasing irrigation pressure with outflow open; and phase 5, increasing irrigation pressure with outflow closed.


The mean baseline CEP was measured as 16.65 mm Hg. In phase 1, the mean CEP was 17.3 mm Hg, which was not significantly different from the baseline CEP. In phase 2, the mean CEP abruptly increased up to 35.1 mm Hg when the epidural space was first connected with the working space, followed by stabilization of the CEP at 31.65 mm Hg. In phase 4, the CEP increased as the inflow pressure increased, showing a linear correlation, but not in phase 5. No patients experienced neurological complications.


It is important to ensure that irrigation fluid is not stagnant and is maintained continuously. More attention must be paid to keeping pressures low when opening the epidural space.

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Taewook Kang, Si Young Park, Gun Woo Park, Soon Hyuck Lee, Jong Hoon Park, and Seung Woo Suh


Although endoscopic procedures for lumbar disc herniation have improved greatly and offer many advantages, the indications are limited mostly to nonmigrated or low-grade migrated disc herniation. Endoscopic application in migrated disc herniation cases is still challenging and technically demanding. The goal in this study was to determine the feasibility of biportal endoscopic discectomy for removal of high-grade migrated disc herniation.


A retrospective review was performed in 262 patients who had undergone biportal endoscopic discectomy after the diagnosis of lumbar herniated disc. According to preoperative MRI findings, disc herniation was classified into 5 zones based on the direction and distance from the disc space. Patients were divided into 2 groups—a high-grade migration group and a low-grade migration group. Clinical outcomes were evaluated using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS), and modified Macnab criteria, and those outcomes and operation time were compared between the 2 groups.


There were 10 patients with “high-grade up,” 8 with “low-grade up,” 98 with disc-level, 102 with “low-grade down,” and 44 with “high-grade down” herniation, thereby yielding 54 patients in the high-grade group and 208 in the low-grade group. Demographic data for the 2 groups showed no significant difference. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in ODI, VAS, and modified Macnab criteria. Operation time between the 2 groups was not significantly different (60.74 vs 65.63 minutes, p > 0.05).


Biportal endoscopic discectomy can be effective for high-grade migrated lumbar disc herniation with no prolonged operation time and satisfactory clinical outcomes.

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Suk-Joo Hong, Youn-Kwan Park, Jung Hyuk Kim, Soon Hyuck Lee, Kyung Nam Ryu, Cheol Min Park, and Yeon Soo Kim


The authors evaluate the biomechanical properties of vertebral bodies (VBs) stabilized with calcium phosphate (CaP) cements for use in vertebroplasty in comparison with polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA).


In the first phase of the study, 73 VBs (T3–L2; thoracic region [T3–8] and thoracolumbar region [T9–L2]) were collected from seven fresh human cadavers. Compression tests were performed before and after vertebroplasty using PMMA (compression strength 80 MPa) and three kinds of CaP cements—CaP1 (5 MPa), CaP2 (20 MPa), and CaP3 (50 MPa). The authors compared the maximal compression loads (MCLs) and stiffness before and after vertebroplasty in each of the four cement groups. In the second phase of the study, 18 paired spinal units (PSUs) were collected from three fresh human cadavers, and the authors injected two types of cement selected from the first phase of the study into the lower level of six PSUs. They compared the MCLs of the untreated and two treated groups (there were six PSUs in each type of group) to analyze the tendency of inducing compression fractures in the upper level of the PSUs.

The MCLs of the PMMA-injected vertebrae were significantly increased after vertebroplasty. The MCL levels of the CaP3-injected vertebrae and the CaP2-injected thoracolumbar vertebrae were decreased from those of untreated vertebrae without being significant. The MCLs of CaP1-injected vertebrae and CaP2-injected thoracic vertebrae were significantly decreased after vertebroplasty. The stiffness of all cement groups was decreased after vertebroplasty compared with initial stiffness, significantly so in all three thoracic CaP groups. In the second compression test with PSUs, the MCLs of the CaP2- and CaP3-injected PSUs were not significantly different from those of the untreated control PSUs.


The CaP3-injected vertebrae restored the MCLs of human vertebrae closer to their initial levels than the PMMA-injected vertebrae did. The CaP2- and CaP3-injected PSUs showed no tendency to induce compression fractures in adjacent VBs.