Results of microendoscopic discectomy performed in the 26 cases with a minimum 3 years follow-up

Shih Sheng Chang, Tsai Sheng Fu*, Yen Chiu Liang, Po Liang Lai, Chi Chien Niu, Lih Huei Chen, Wen Jer Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Microendoscopic discectomy (MED) is less invasive than conventional open discectomy, but the long-term benefits of this technique are still debated. Controversy also remains regarding the surgical indications, patient selection, effectiveness, learning curve and complications. Methods: From Dec 2001 to Dec 2003, 26 patients with lumbar herniated disc disease received MED. The surgical indications included the following: (1) unilateral, single level lumbar disc herniation; (2) signs and symptoms compatible with the involved nerve root; (3) failure of conservative treatment. These cases were the initial MEDs performed by one of our senior authors (TS FU). Clinical symptoms and outcomes were assessed using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back Scores. Results: Treatment in two cases was changed to open discectomy because of irreparable dural tears during surgery. For the remaining 24 cases, the average intraoperative blood loss was 55.8 mL. The average operation length was 136.8 minutes and the average post-surgical hospital stay was 2.4 days. At 12 weeks after the operation, 22 achieved excellent or good results. The satisfactory rate was 91.7%. On final follow-up, 21 patients had excellent or good results. The satisfactory rate was 87.5%. Complications included two irreparable dural tears, two superficial wound infections and one pseudomenigocele. Conclusions: Our data indicate that MED is an effective procedure for lumbar disc herniation. The result is satisfactory under adequate surgical indications and patient selection. Despite the low complication rate, dural tears still remain a concern during the learning stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalChang Gung Medical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 2009


  • Disc herniation
  • Microendoscopic discectomy
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery


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