OBJECTIVE This study aimed to evaluate the clinical outcomes of percutaneous endoscopic transforaminal discectomy (PETD), microendoscopic discectomy (MED), and microdiscectomy (MD) for treatment of symptomatic lumbar disc herniation (LDH). METHODS One hundred ninety-two patients with symptomatic LDH at L3-4 and L4-5 were included in this study. The mean (± SD) age of patients was 34.2 ± 2.6 years (range 18-62 years). The patients were divided into groups as follows: group A was treated with PETD and included 60 patients (31 men and 29 women) with a mean age of 36.2 years; group B was treated with MED and included 63 patients (32 men and 31 women) with a mean age of 33.1 years; and group C was treated with MD and included 69 patients (36 men and 33 women) with a mean age of 34.0 years. The Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale for low-back pain (LBP), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), creatine phosphokinase activity 3 days after surgery, and visual analog scale (VAS) scores for LBP and leg pain were used for evaluation of clinical results. RESULTS There were no significant differences in mean preoperative JOA score, ODI score, and VAS scores for LBP and leg pain among groups A, B, and C. Incision length, duration of the operation, blood loss, creatine phosphokinase, length of hospital stay, and postoperative incision pain according to the VAS were best in the PETD group (p < 0.05). The number of seconds of intraoperative fluoroscopy was highest in the PETD group (p < 0.05), whereas there was no difference between the MED and MD groups. Three cases from the MED group and 2 cases from the MD group had an intraoperative durotomy. No CSF leakage was observed after surgery. One case from the MED group and 3 cases from the MD group had incision infections. There were no neurological deficits related to the surgeries in any of the groups. Fifty-five (91.6%), 59 (93.7%), and 62 patients (89.9%) had at least 2 years of follow-up in groups A, B, and C, respectively. At the last follow-up, JOA scores, VAS scores of LBP and leg pain, and ODI scores were significantly better than preoperative correlates in all groups. There were no differences among the 3 groups in JOA scores, JOA recovery rate, ODI scores, and VAS scores for leg pain. The VAS score for LBP was best in the PETD group (p < 0.05). No lumbar instability was observed in any group. Three cases (5.5%) in the PETD group had recurrent LDH, and 2 recurrent cases (3.4%) were confirmed in the MED group. CONCLUSIONS PETD, MED, and MD were all reliable techniques for the treatment of symptomatic LDH. With a restricted indication, PETD can result in rapid recovery and better clinical results after at least 2 years of follow-up.
Keywords: CPK = creatine phosphokinase; JOA = Japanese Orthopaedic Association; LBP = low-back pain; LDH = lumbar disc herniation; MD = microdiscectomy; MED = microendoscopic discectomy; MSU = Michigan State University; OD = open discectomy; ODI = Oswestry Disability Index; PEID = percutaneous endoscopy interlaminar discectomy; PELD = percutaneous endoscopy lumbar discectomy; PETD = percutaneous endoscopy transforaminal discectomy; VAS = visual analog scale; clinical outcome; comparison; lumbar disc herniation; microdiscectomy; microendoscopic discectomy; percutaneous endoscopic transforaminal discectomy.