Percutaneous resolution of lumbar facet joint cysts as an alternative treatment to surgery: a meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e111695. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111695. eCollection 2014.


Purpose: A comprehensive review of the literature in order to analyze data about the success rate of percutaneous resolution of the lumbar facet joint cysts as a conservative management strategy.

Methods: A systematic search for relevant articles published during 1980 to May 2014 was performed in several electronic databases by using the specific MeSH terms and keywords. Most relevant data was captured and pooled for the meta-analysis to achieve overall effect size of treatment along with 95% confidence intervals.

Results: 29 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Follow-up duration as mean ± sd (range) was 16±10.2 (5 days to 5.7 years). Overall the satisfactory results (after short- or long-term follow-up) were achieved in 55.8 [49.5, 62.08] % (pooled mean and 95% CI) of the 544 patients subjected to percutaneous lumbar facet joint cyst resolution procedures. 38.67 [33.3, 43.95] % of this population underwent surgery subsequently to achieve durable relief. There existed no linear relationship between the increasing average duration of follow-up period of individual studies and percent satisfaction from the percutaneous resolutions procedure.

Conclusion: Results shows that the percutaneous cyst resolution procedures have potential to be an alternative to surgical interventions but identification of suitable subjects requires further research.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cysts / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Articular / methods*
  • Low Back Pain / drug therapy*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Research Design
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Steroids

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81071514). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.