Original Study

Consideration of proper operative route for interlaminar approach for percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy

Juichi Tonosu, Yasushi Oshima, Ryutaro Shiboi, Akihiko Hayashi, Yuichi Takano, Hirohiko Inanami, Hisashi Koga


Background: Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD) is one of the less invasive treatments of lumbar disc herniation (LDH), and has three different operative approaches. This study focused on the interlaminar approach (ILA) and investigated the appropriate operative route for this approach.
Methods: ILA was performed in 41 patients with LDH. The width of the interlaminar space, LDH size, and positional relation between LDH and the corresponding nerve root were radiologically evaluated. Thirty-three LDHs were removed via the shoulder of the corresponding nerve root and eight were removed via the axilla of the corresponding nerve root and dural sac. Pre- and postoperative statuses were evaluated using the modified Japanese Orthopedic Association (mJOA) and numerical rating scale (NRS) scores.
Results: Patients’ mean age was 41.5 years; there was single-level involvement, mostly at L5/S1 (33 cases). The mean recovery rate of mJOA score was 59.8% and mean pre- and postoperative NRS scores were 5.8 and 0.98, respectively. Relatively severe complications developed in three patients treated by ILA via the shoulder. There was persistent numbness in the corresponding nerve area, transient muscular weakness, and transient bladder and rectal disturbance, may be due to excessive compression of the nerve root and/or dural sac by the endoscopic sheath.
Conclusions: ILA can be used to treat LDH revealing an interlaminar space of ≥20 mm. The procedure is minimally invasive and effective; however, appropriate selection of an operative route is important to avoid operative complications. Particularly for large LDH, the operative route via the axilla should be considered.

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