Microendoscopic Decompressive Laminotomy for the Treatment of Lumbar Stenosis
Objective: By modifying existing microendoscopic discectomy techniques, we previously developed a novel surgical treatment of lumbar stenosis and validated its ability to achieve a thorough decompression in a cadaveric study. We now describe our clinical experience with this new, minimally invasive microendoscopic decompressive laminotomy (MEDL) technique.
Methods: A MEDL was performed in 25 patients with classic features of lumbar stenosis. By use of a fluoroscopically guided percutaneous technique, the working portal was docked on the lamina with minimal soft-tissue injury. With the angle of the endoscope combined with an oblique entry, a bilateral bony and ligamentous decompression was achieved under the midline, thereby preserving the supraspinous-interspinous ligaments and contralateral musculature. A second group of 25 patients treated with open decompression was used for comparison.
Results: Effective circumferential decompression was achieved in the majority of patients. The results for the MEDL group were as follows: operative time, 109 minutes per single level; blood loss, 68 ml; and postoperative stay, 42 hours. The results for the open-surgery group were as follows: operative time, 88 minutes; blood loss, 193 ml; and postoperative stay, 94 hours. The MEDL group needed significantly less narcotic medication after surgery. Overall, 16% of the MEDL patients reported resolution of their back pain, 68% improved symptomatically, and 16% remained unchanged. The outcome of the open group was very similar.
Conclusion: Compared with an equivalent open technique, MEDL appears to offer a similar short-term clinical outcome with a significant reduction in operative blood loss, postoperative stay, and use of narcotics. This lower surgical stress, decreased tissue trauma, and quicker recovery are particularly important in this elderly population of patients.
Citation: Khoo LT, Fessler RG. Microendoscopic decompressive laminotomy for the treatment of lumbar stenosis. Neurosurgery. 2002 Nov;51(5 Suppl):S146-54. PMID: 12234442. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12234442/