Outcome of endodontic surgery: a meta-analysis of the literature--Part 2: Comparison of endodontic microsurgical techniques with and without the use of higher magnification

J Endod. 2012 Jan;38(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2011.09.021. Epub 2011 Nov 21.


Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate the outcome of root-end surgery. It identifies the effect of the surgical operating microscope or the endoscope on the prognosis of endodontic surgery. The specific outcomes of contemporary root-end surgery techniques with microinstruments but only loupes or no visualization aids (contemporary root-end surgery [CRS]) were compared with endodontic microsurgery using the same instruments and materials but with high-power magnification as provided by the surgical operating microscope or the endoscope (endodontic microsurgery [EMS]). The probabilities of success for a comparison of the 2 techniques were determined by means of a meta-analysis and systematic review of the literature. The influence of the tooth type on the outcome was investigated.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search for longitudinal studies on the outcome of root-end surgery was conducted. Three electronic databases (ie, Medline, Embase, and PubMed) were searched to identify human studies from 1966 up to October 2009 in 5 different languages (ie, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish). Review articles and relevant articles were searched for cross-references. In addition, 5 dental and medical journals (ie, Journal of Endodontics, International Endodontic Journal, Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology and Endodontics, Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery) dating back to 1975 were hand searched. Following predefined inclusion and exclusion criteria, all articles were screened by 3 independent reviewers (S.B.S., M.R.K., and F.C.S.). Relevant articles were obtained in full-text form, and raw data were extracted independently by each reviewer. After agreement among the reviewers, articles that qualified were assigned to group CRS. Articles belonging to group EMS had already been obtained for part 1 of this meta-analysis. Weighted pooled success rates and a relative risk assessment between CRS and EMS overall as well as for molars, premolars, and anteriors were calculated. A random-effects model was used for a comparison between the groups.

Results: One hundred one articles were identified and obtained for final analysis. In total, 14 studies qualified according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 2 being represented in both groups (7 for CRS [n = 610] and 9 for EMS [n = 699]). Weighted pooled success rates calculated from extracted raw data showed an 88% positive outcome for CRS (95% confidence interval, 0.8455-0.9164) and 94% for EMS (95% confidence interval, 0.8889-0.9816). This difference was statistically significant (P < .0005). Relative risk ratio analysis showed that the probability of success for EMS was 1.07 times the probability of success for CRS. Seven studies provided information on the individual tooth type (4 for CRS [n = 457] and 3 for EMS [n = 222]). The difference in probability of success between the groups was statistically significant for molars (n = 193, P = .011). No significant difference was found for the premolar or anterior group (premolar [n = 169], P = .404; anterior [n = 277], P = .715).

Conclusions: The probability for success for EMS proved to be significantly greater than the probability for success for CRS, providing best available evidence on the influence of high-power magnification rendered by the dental operating microscope or the endoscope. Large-scale randomized clinical trials for statistically valid conclusions for current endodontic questions are needed to make informed decisions for clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Apicoectomy / methods*
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Probability
  • Retrograde Obturation / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Root Canal Filling Materials / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Root Canal Filling Materials