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.