In this study the authors describe the technical considerations and feasibility of transforaminal discectomy and foraminoplasty for the treatment of lumbar radiculopathy in patients who have herniated discs at the thoracolumbar junction.
After institutional review board approval, charts from 3 consecutive patients with lumbar radiculopathy and T12–L1 herniated discs who underwent endoscopic procedures between 2006 and 2014 were reviewed.
Consecutive cases (n = 1316) were reviewed to determine the incidence and success of surgery performed at the T12–L1 level. Only 3 patients (0.23%) treated with endoscopic surgery for their herniated discs had T12–L1 herniated discs; the rest were lumbar or lumbosacral herniations. For patients with T12–L1 disc herniations, the average preoperative visual analog scale score was 8.3 (indicated in the questionnaire as describing severe and constant pain). The average 1-year postoperative visual analog scale score was 1.7 (indicated in the questionnaire as mild and intermittent pain).
Transforaminal endoscopic discectomy and foraminotomy can be used as a safe yet minimally invasive technique for the treatment of lumbar radiculopathy in the setting of a thoracolumbar disc herniation.