ABSTRACT: Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy is a relatively new technique. Very few studies have reported the clinical outcome of percutaneous endoscopic discectomy in terms of quality of life and return to work.
55 patients with percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy done from 2002 to 2006 had their clinical outcomes reviewed in terms of the North American Spine Score (NASS), Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 scores (SF-36) and Pain Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and return to work.
The mean age was 35.6 years, the mean operative time was 55.8 minutes and the mean length of follow-up was 3.4 years. The mean hospital stay for endoscopic discectomy was 17.3 hours. There was significant reduction in the severity of back pain and lower limb symptoms (NASS and VAS, p < 0.05) at 6 months and 2 years. There was significant improvement in all aspects of the Quality of Life (SF-36, p < 0.05) scores except for general health at 6 months and 2 years postoperation. The recurrence rate was 5% (3 patients). 5% (3 patients) subsequently underwent lumbar fusion for persistent back pain. All patients returned to their previous occupation after surgery at a mean time of 24.3 days.
Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy is associated with improvement in back pain and lower limb symptoms postoperation which translates to improvement in quality of life. It has the advantage that it can be performed on a day case basis with short length of hospitalization and early return to work thus improving quality of life earlier.
Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 06/2009; 4:20.