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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Feb 15;25(4):450-6.

Clinical and radiographic evaluation of disc excision for lumbar disc herniation with and without posterolateral fusion.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Nara Medical University, Japan.



A prospective study evaluating the clinical and radiographic results in 95 patients with lumbar disc herniation.


To evaluate the results of disc excision, with and without posterolateral fusion.


The effect of posterolateral fusion on the outcomes and radiologic changes in patients with lumbar disc herniation has rarely been reported.


Forty-four patients underwent disc excision, and 51 patients underwent disc excision and fusion. Clinical symptoms were evaluated using the Japanese Orthopaedic Association Back scores. All medical and surgical records were examined with regard to intraoperative blood loss, operation time, and other data. Preoperative and follow-up radiographs were analyzed to determine the spinal motion and disc height.


Clinical outcome was excellent or good in 73% of the nonfusion group and in 82% of the fusion group (P = 0.31). The reduction in lower back pain after surgery was greater in the fusion group. The rate of recurrent disc herniation at the surgical level in the nonfusion group increased, but intraoperative blood loss, operation time, length of hospital stay, and total cost of procedure were all significantly less in the patients undergoing disc excision alone than in the fusion group. The radiologic analysis provided evidence that the disc height at the level of disc excision and posterolateral fusion in the fusion group decreased with time, as in the nonfusion group. The changes in disc height and spinal motion were not related to the clinical results.


Although there is still controversy regarding the pros and cons of fusion in association with disc excision, there is seldom an indication for primary fusion for lumbar disc herniation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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