Biportal endoscopic discectomy versus tubular microscopic discectomy for treating single-level lumbar disc herniation in obese patients: a multicenter, retrospective analysis

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2023 Sep;165(9):2641-2650. doi: 10.1007/s00701-023-05686-4. Epub 2023 Jul 1.


Purpose: In microscopic lumbar discectomy in obese patients, a correlation is found between the operation time and increase in estimated blood loss according to the increase in body mass index; however, no studies have investigated the outcomes of biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy in obese patients. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the clinical and radiographic outcomes of microscopic and endoscopic discectomy in obese patients with lumbar herniated discs.

Methods: In this multicenter, retrospective study, clinical and radiological data were compared and analyzed in 73 obese patients with a body mass index of > 30 kg/m2 who underwent microscopic or biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy. Clinical data on the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry disability index (ODI), and EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) scores were measured, and radiological data were obtained using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Results: This study enrolled 43 patients who underwent microscopic discectomy and 30 who underwent biportal endoscopic discectomy. The VAS, ODI, and EQ-5D scores in both groups improved after surgery compared with those before surgery, although there was no difference between the two groups. Although there was a difference in the incidence of recurrent disc herniation confirmed by MRI after surgery, no difference was found in the number of patients requiring surgery between the two groups.

Conclusion: In obese patients with lumbar disc herniation that was not improved with conservative treatment, no significant clinical or radiological differences in outcomes were noted between microscopic and biportal endoscopic surgery methods. In contrast, minor complications were less common in the biportal group.

Keywords: Biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy; Body mass index; Lumbar disc herniation; Microscopic lumbar discectomy; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Diskectomy / methods
  • Diskectomy, Percutaneous* / methods
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement* / complications
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement* / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement* / surgery
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome