New Tools Offer Safe Alternative for Disc Surgery

Less traumatization and epidural scarring also seen

MONDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- Innovative tools offer safe and effective alternatives to traditional instruments for the full-endoscopic transforaminal and interlaminar resection of herniated lumbar discs, researchers report in the June issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

Sebastian Ruetten, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Witten/Herdecke in Herne, Germany, and colleagues used new optics and instruments, including an endoscope with a 4.2-mm diameter working channel, to perform full-endoscopic transforaminal and interlaminar resection of herniated lumbar discs. They followed 232 patients, including 58 percent who had interlaminar and 42 percent who had transforaminal resection, over a two-year postsurgical follow-up.

The researchers found no leg pain in 84 percent of patients and sporadic pain in 12 percent, and there was less traumatization and epidural scarring. Symptoms resurfaced in 6 percent of cases. There were no surgical complications. Decompression results were similar to those of traditional procedures, but resection using the new tools was deemed feasible in every case.

"The authors view the aforedescribed techniques, which offer the advantages of a truly minimally invasive procedure, as a sufficient and safe supplementation and alternative to conventional procedures, when the appropriate indication criteria are heeded," the authors write. "The new endoscope with its 4.2-mm working channel and corresponding instruments significantly reduced the technical problems."

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