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Sean M. Barber, Andrew D. Livingston and David A. Cech

Percutaneous sacroplasty is a procedure adapted from vertebroplasty, which is designed to ameliorate the painful morbidity associated with sacral insufficiency fractures without the invasiveness of open surgery. Early estimates of efficacy, according to several case reports and small series, appear promising, but the procedure is not without risk. Several cases of radiculopathy due to nerve root compression by extravasated polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) have been reported. The authors present a case of radiculopathy caused by cement leakage from sacroplasty, treated with surgical decompression of the compromised nerve root. The patient presented with left S-1 radiculopathy and was found on CT to have a left S-1 nerve root completely encased in PMMA over a portion of its length. The patient underwent sacral laminectomy with the removal of PMMA and experienced pain relief and the return of function postoperatively. Surgical removal of PMMA extravasated during sacroplasty is feasible and should be considered when nerve root compression or canal stenosis causes pain or neurological deficit refractory to conservative therapy.

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Sean M. Barber, Jonathan Nakhla, Sanjay Konakondla, Jared S. Fridley, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Albert E. Telfeian

OBJECTIVE

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.

METHODS

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.

RESULTS

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.

CONCLUSIONS

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.