Complications of lumbar disc herniations following trans-sacral epiduroscopic lumbar decompression: a single-center, retrospective study


Trans-sacral epiduroscopic lumbar decompression (SELD) is an emerging procedure for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation (LDH), with favorable outcomes having been reported. However, the complications associated with SELD have not been comprehensively evaluated to date. Therefore, the aim of our study was to describe the incidence rate, types, and characteristics of complications following SELD and management outcomes.


Retrospective analysis of the surgical and clinical outcomes for 127 patients (average age, 42.2 ± 15.2 years) who underwent SELD for LDH at L2-3, L3-4, L4-5, and/or L5-S1, performed by a single experienced spine surgeon at a single center, between January 2015 and April 2017, was conducted.


All procedures were successful, with a mean follow-up of 12.3 ± 2.3 months. Complications were identified in 8 patients (6.3%), including 3 cases of incomplete decompression (2.4%), 2 cases of recurrent disc herniation (1.6%), and one case each of hematoma, dural tearing, and subchondral osteonecrosis (0.8%). Among these cases with complications, only 2 cases with incomplete decompression and one case with recurrent LDH did not improve with conservative treatment and required re-operation using an open approach. The rate of complications decreased from 12.6% when considering only the first 50 cases to 2.6% for cases 51-127.


Incomplete decompression, recurrent herniation, epidural hematoma, dural tear, and subchondral osteonecrosis were identified as complications of SELD, although the overall rate of complications was low. Practice with the procedure and careful patient selection can lower the risk of complications.


Complication; Endoscopic spine surgery; Epiduroscopic; Laser decompression; Laser spine surgery; Lumbar disc herniation; Minimally invasive spine surgery; Trans-sacral epiduroscopic lumbar decompression.

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