Retrospective cohort study.
Discectomy alone or discectomy with fusion have been 2 polarized options in the management of large lumbar disc herniations presenting with leg-dominant pain in young patients. The objective of the study was to evaluate the outcomes of discectomy in young patients with large central lumbar disc herniation (CLDH) presenting with predominant leg pain.
Material and methods:
Young patients (<45 years) presenting with predominant leg pain and MRI confirmed diagnosis of CLDH between April 2007-January 2017 were included in the study. All patients underwent tubular microdiscectomy. Outcomes of surgery were evaluated using visual analogue score (VAS) for leg and back pain, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Macnab's criteria.
Ninety patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The mean age of patients was 34.9 years (range 19-45 years). Mean follow-up was 5.09 years (range 2-10 years). The incidence of CLDH in young adults was 30% and incidence among all “operated” lumbar disc herniations was 15.9%. The mean VAS for leg pain improved from 7.48 ± 0.9 to 2.22 ± 0.84 (P < .05) and the mean ODI changed from 60.53 ± 7.84 to 18.33 ± 6.20 (P < .05). Fifty-nine patients (65.6%) reported excellent, 25 patients (27.8%) reported good, 3 patients each (3.3%) as fair and poor outcomes respectively.
Discectomy alone for CLDH with predominant leg pain is associated with high success rate and low need for a secondary surgical procedure. Patient selection in terms of leg-dominant pain may be the main attribute for lower incidence of recurrence, postoperative back-pain, and instability needing a secondary procedure. Minimally invasive discectomy may provide an added advantage of preserving normal spinal anatomy, thus minimizing the need for primary spinal fusion in these patients.
central lumbar disc herniation (CLDH); lumbar disc herniation; microdiscectomy; minimally invasive spine surgery; sciatica; spine surgery; tubular microdiscectomy.