A novel surgical treatment of lumbar disc herniation in patients with long-standing degenerative disc disease

Markus Wenger Department of Neurosurgery, The Hirslanden Group, Klinik Beau-Site, Bern, Switzerland

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Thomas-Marc Markwalder Department of Neurosurgery, The Hirslanden Group, Klinik Beau-Site, Bern, Switzerland

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Object. In patients with long-standing lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) conventional surgical therapy of a herniated disc may worsen back pain due to further destabilization of the affected motion segment. In recent years, total-disc arthroplasty has been introduced to treat DDD while maintaining segmental mobility. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first report involving lumbar disc herniation and long-standing DDD submitted to combined anterior microdiscectomy with sequestrectomy and total-disc arthroplasty.

Methods. Fourteen patients with long-standing DDD and a recently herniated disc underwent total anterior lumbar microdiscectomy, with removal of the herniated disc, and total-disc arthroplasty. There were nine women and five men whose mean age was 39.6 years (range 22–56 years) in whom back and leg pain had been present for a mean of 75.4 (range 9–360) and 9.4 (range 0.33–36) months, respectively. Thirteen patients underwent L5—S1 and one underwent L4–5 surgery. In all cases the procedure and the postoperative courses were uneventful. After a mean follow-up period of 12.5 months (range 3.9–21.1 months), outcome was excellent in 11 and good in three patients.

Conclusions. The aforementioned surgical treatment of a recently herniated lumbar disc in patients with long-standing DDD yielded very favorable early results.

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