Upper lumbar (L1–2, L2–3) disc herniations are distinct in their diffuse presenting clinical symptomatology and have poorer outcomes with surgical intervention than those following mid and lower lumbar disc herniations and disc surgery. The authors present the cases of 3 patients with L1–2 disc herniations and significant stenosis of the spinal canal. The surgical approach used here combined the principles of transforaminal percutaneous endoscopic discectomy and the extreme lateral lumbar interbody fusion procedures with intraoperative CT-guided navigational assistance. The approach provides a safe corridor of direct visualization to the ventral thecal sac with minimal bony resection and could, in principle, reduce neurological injury and biomechanical instability, which likely contribute to poor outcomes at this level.
Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Jared Fridley, David B. Choi, Albert Telfeian and Ziya L. Gokaslan
Albert E. Telfeian, Anand Veeravagu, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese and Ziya L. Gokaslan
Few neurosurgeons practicing today have had training in the field of endoscopic spine surgery during residency or fellowship. Nevertheless, over the past 40 years individual spine surgeons from around the world have worked to create a subfield of minimally invasive spine surgery that takes the point of visualization away from the surgeon's eye or the lens of a microscope and puts it directly at the point of spine pathology. What follows is an attempt to describe the story of how endoscopic spine surgery developed and to credit some of those who have been the biggest contributors to its development.
Albert E. Telfeian, Gabriele P. Jasper, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese and Ziya L. Gokaslan
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.
Sean M. Barber, Jonathan Nakhla, Sanjay Konakondla, Jared S. Fridley, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Albert E. Telfeian
Endoscopic discectomy (ED) has been advocated as a less-invasive alternative to open microdiscectomy (OM) and tubular microdiscectomy (TM) for lumbar disc herniations, with the potential to decrease postoperative pain and shorten recovery times. Large-scale, objective comparisons of outcomes between ED, OM, and TM, however, are lacking. The authors’ objective in this study was to conduct a meta-analysis comparing outcomes of ED, OM, and TM.
The PubMed database was searched for articles published as of February 1, 2019, for comparative studies reporting outcomes of some combination of ED, OM, and TM. A meta-analysis of outcome parameters was performed assuming random effects.
Twenty-six studies describing the outcomes of 2577 patients were included. Estimated blood loss was significantly higher with OM than with both TM (p = 0.01) and ED (p < 0.00001). Length of stay was significantly longer with OM than with ED (p < 0.00001). Return to work time was significantly longer in OM than with ED (p = 0.001). Postoperative leg (p = 0.02) and back (p = 0.01) VAS scores, and Oswestry Disability Index scores (p = 0.006) at latest follow-up were significantly higher for OM than for ED. Serum creatine phosphokinase (p = 0.02) and C-reactive protein (p < 0.00001) levels on postoperative day 1 were significantly higher with OM than with ED.
Outcomes of TM and OM for lumbar disc herniations are largely equivalent. While this analysis demonstrated that several clinical variables were significantly improved in patients undergoing ED when compared with OM, the magnitude of many of these differences was small and of uncertain clinical relevance, and several of the included studies were retrospective and subject to a high risk of bias. Further high-quality prospective studies are needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the comparative efficacy of the various surgical treatments for lumbar disc herniations.