Background: Transsacral epiduroscopic laser decompression (SELD) is a very noninvasive surgery, so it is effective for elderly patients and athletes and is a new and minimally invasive therapeutic technique that may be useful in many patients with discogenic low-back pain (LBP) having high signal intensity zone (HIZ) in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We investigated the clinical outcomes of SELD in Japanese patients with discogenic LBP having HIZ as a first trial. Methods: The subjects consisted of 52 patients who underwent SELD and were followed up for at least 6 months. All patients with LBP with HIZ were operative using the SELD technique. Outcomes of the patients were assessed with visual analogue scale (VAS) for LBP, the Oswestry disability index (ODI), and the EuroQol 5 dimension (EQ-5D). Statistical analyses were carried out using a paired t-test. A p-value of <0.05 was considered significant. For statistical analysis, we used the SPSS software program. Results: At 12 months after the procedure, the average VAS score for LBP fell to 1.2 from 5.6 (p-value <0.05). The ODI score also dropped from the preoperative level of 22.3 to 8.8. The EQ-5D score also significantly increased from the preoperative level of 0.865 (SD 0.10) to 0.950 (SD 0.05). Eight cases of intraoperative cervical pain were observed as complications with no cases of hematomas, infections, and postoperative neurosis was observed. Conclusions: SELD provides a novel minimally invasive technique capable of performing multilevel intervertebral surgery. We believe that SELD is an effective method of treating discogenic LBP due to HIZs.
discogenic low-back pain; high-intensity zone; transsacral epiduroscopic laser decompression.