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Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2001 Sep;121(8):476-80.

Lumbar micro disc surgery with and without autologous fat graft. A prospective randomized trial evaluated with reference to clinical and social factors.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, St Josef University Hospital, Bochum, Germany.


Epidural scarring is one of the possible complications after lumbar disc surgery. Perineural scar tissue has been considered responsible for recurrent neurological symptoms in patients operated on for disc herniation and leads to a high rate of unsatisfactory results. In addition, postoperative scars may increase the technical difficulty and risk of subsequent procedures. Various materials have been used in animal studies to try to affect the degree of epidural scar tissue with controversial results. In particular, free fat transplantation has been described to reduce the degree of intraspinal scar tissue. We therefore performed a prospective, double-blind, randomized study comparing clinical and social factors of patients being operated on for the first time for lumbar disc herniation. A total of 92 patients received an implantation of autologous fat graft, 94 did not. After a median of 24.2 months after their surgery, an objective examinator compared various clinical parameters and the social situation of patients in both groups without knowing the operation method used. We found no significant differences between the fat-graft group and the control group regarding either the clinical outcome or the social aspects.

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