The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate surgical and neurological outcomes in thoracic disc surgery in a prospective fashion.
Quantifiable outcome data such as operating time, blood loss, duration of chest tube drainage, narcotic drug use, length of hospital stay (LOS), and long-term follow up of neurological function and pain-related symptoms were collected prospectively.
In patients with myelopathy there was an improvement of two Frankel grades in the thoracoscopic discectomy group and one Frankel grade in the patients treated with thoracotomy; however, patients in the thoracotomy group were significantly worse preoperatively. None of the patients experienced worsened pain, and pain related to radiculopathy was improved by 75% in the thoracoscopic group.
Thoracoscopic discectomy yields acceptable surgical results and has several distinct advantages, with reduced postoperative pain, morbidity, and LOS.