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Expert Rev Neurother. 2004 May;4(3):479-90.

Do minimally invasive procedures have a place in the treatment of chronic low back pain?

Author information

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Surgical Intensive Care, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland. alex.cahana@hcuge.ch


Chronic low back pain is the leading cause of disability in the industrialized world. Medical and surgical treatments remain costly despite limited efficacy. The field of 'interventional pain' has grown enormously and evidence-based practice guidelines are systematically developed. In this article, the vast, complex and contradictory literature regarding the treatment of chronic low back pain is reviewed. Interventional pain literature suggests that there is moderate evidence (small randomized, nonrandomized, single group or matched-case controlled studies) for medial branch neurotomy and limited evidence (nonexperimental one or more center studies) for intradiscal treatments in mechanical low back pain. There is moderate evidence for the use of transforaminal epidural steroid injections, lumbar percutaneous adhesiolysis and spinal endoscopy for painful lumbar radiculopathy, and spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal pumps mostly after spinal surgery. In reality, there is no gold standard for the treatment of chronic low back pain, but these results appear promising.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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