Study Design: Retrospective study
Objectives: To compare the surgical results of microendoscopic discectomy using a tubular retractor with those of a conventional
discectomy for lumbar herniated nucleus pulposus.
Summary of Literature Review: Minimally invasive approaches to the lumbar spine have been attempted with success over the
past 25 years.
Materials and Methods: This study examined 36 cases who underwent lumbar discectomy using a tubular retractor and
microendoscopy (Group A) and 30 cases who underwent a conventional discectomy (Group B). The operating time, intraoperative
blood loss, postoperative hospital stay were recorded. The clinical results were assessed using the Korea Version Oswestry
Disability Index (KODI), and the radiological results were evaluated from changes in disc height.
Results: The patients in Group A had a longer operation time(mean, 95.56±23.57 minutes vs 81.17±35.30 minutes, p=0.062),
less intraoperative blood loss (mean, 58.61±97.08 cc vs 161.00±88.64 cc, p=0.001) and a shorter hospitalization stay (mean, 8.22
±4.99 days vs 17.33±10.98 days, p=0.001) than group B. There was significant improvement in the mean KODI score for
Group A; 6.36±7.18 and Group B; 5.97±5.14. However, there was no significant difference in the pain improvement (mean, 1.14
±1.15 vs 1.30±1.06, p=0.559) and walking index (mean, 0.25±0.44 vs 0.30±0.47, p=0.656). In terms of social life, Group A had
better results (mean, 0.20±0.48 vs 0.67±1.01, p=0.018). The disc height according to radiography decreased from 8.44±1.98
mm to 7.40±1.59 mm in Group A and 9.07±1.93 mm to 7.67±1.90 mm in Group B, but there were no statistical differences in
the changes in disc height between the two groups (p=0.143).
Conclusion: Microendoscopic discectomy is an effective procedure with good outcomes in treating lumbar disc herniation that
allows less tissue trauma, compared with conventional open discectomy.