Open Access: Percutaneous Endoscopic Lumbar Foraminotomy

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 7.41.44 AMBackground: Although several authors have reported the use of endoscopic techniques to treat lumbar foraminal stenosis, the practical application of these techniques has been limited to soft disc herniation.

Objective: To describe the details of the percutaneous endoscopic lumbar foraminotomy (ELF) technique for bony foraminal stenosis and to demonstrate the clinical outcomes.

Methods: Two years of prospective data were collected from 33 consecutive patients with lumbar foraminal stenosis who underwent ELF. The surgical outcomes were assessed using the visual analog scale, Oswestry Disability Index, and modified MacNab criteria. The procedure begins at the safer extraforaminal zone rather than the riskier intraforaminal zone. Then, a full-scale foraminal decompression can be performed using a burr and punches under endoscopic control.

Results: The mean age of the 18 female and 15 male patients was 64.2 years. The mean visual analog scale score for leg pain improved from 8.36 at baseline to 3.36 at 6 weeks, 2.03 at 1 year, and 1.97 at 2 years post-surgery (P < .001). The mean Oswestry Disability Index improved from 65.8 at baseline to 31.6 at 6 weeks, 19.7 at 1 year, and 19.3 at 2 years post-surgery (P < .001). Based on the modified MacNab criteria, excellent or good results were obtained in 81.8% of the patients, and symptomatic improvements were obtained in 93.9%.

Conclusion: Percutaneous ELF under local anesthesia could be an efficacious surgical procedure for the treatment of foraminal stenosis. This procedure may offer safe and reproducible results, especially for elderly or medically compromised patients.

From: Percutaneous Endoscopic Lumbar Foraminotomy: An Advanced Surgical Technique and Clinical Outcomes by Ahn et al.

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