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Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging of lumbar disc herniation: comparison of microendoscopic discectomy and Love's method



Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging of lumbar disc herniation: comparison of microendoscopic discectomy and Love's method



Spine 26(14): 1599-1605



Study Design. We performed a study to compare the magnetic resonance imaging findings up to 24 weeks after microendoscopic discectomy or surgery using Love's method in patients with lumbar disc herniation. Objectives. The objective was to determine whether or not microendoscopic discectomy was minimally invasive with respect to the nerve roots, cauda equina, and paravertebral muscles by comparing the postoperative magnetic resonance imaging findings in patients treated by microendoscopic discectomy and the conventional Love's method. Summary of Background Data. We introduced microendoscopic discectomy as a minimally invasive surgical procedure for lumbar disc herniation in September 1998 and have obtained good results. Microendoscopic discectomy is superior to the conventional Love's method in that it reduces postoperative pain, shortens the duration of hospitalization, and allows earlier resumption of normal activities. However, the effect of microendoscopic discectomy on the nerves and paravertebral muscles has not been evaluated objectively. Methods. Enhancement of the nerve roots and paravertebral muscles, as well as the configuration of the cauda equina at the level of herniation, was assessed on axial magnetic resonance images obtained with contrast enhancement using gadolinium-diethylenetriamine penta-acetic acid before surgery and 1, 4, 8,12, and 24 weeks after surgery in 25 patients who underwent microendoscopic discectomy and 15 patients who were treated using Love's method. Results. Increased enhancement of the nerve roots was seen in 50.0% of the microendoscopic discectomy group and 46.2% of the Love group at 1 week after surgery. Enhancement of the paravertebral muscles at the surgical site tended to persist for longer in the microendoscopic discectomy group than in the Love group. However, muscle enhancement was widespread in some patients from the Love group. Abnormalities of the cauda equina attributed to surgical invasion were seen in 12.5% of the microscopic discectomy group and 15.4% of the Love group at 1 week after surgery. Conclusions. Microendoscopic discectomy had an effect on the nerve roots and cauda equina that was comparable with that of Love's method. The magnetic resonance images of the route of entry failed to show that microendoscopic discectomy is appreciably less invasive with respect to the paravertebral muscles.

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Accession: 011174783

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PMID: 11462094


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