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Int Orthop. 2009 Feb;33(1):11-7. doi: 10.1007/s00264-008-0559-2. Epub 2008 May 24.

A systematic review of randomised clinical trials using posterior discectomy to treat lumbar disc herniations.

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  • 1Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Santa Casa School of Medicine and Hospitals of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The focus of this study was to examine the safety and effectiveness of three different discectomy techniques using a posterior approach for the treatment of herniated lumbar discs. There are only a small number of prospective randomised studies comparing posterior lumbar discectomy techniques, and no recent systematic review has been published on this matter. Using the Cochrane Collaboration guidelines, all randomised or "quasi-randomised" clinical trials, comparing classic, microsurgical, and endoscopic lumbar discectomies using a posterior approach were systematically reviewed. No statistically significant differences were found between these techniques regarding improvement in pain, sensory deficits, motor strength, reflexes, and patient satisfaction. Current data suggest that the microsurgical and endoscopic techniques are superior to the classic technique for the treatment of single level lumbar disc herniations with respect to volume of blood loss, systemic repercussions, and duration of hospital stay. All three surgical techniques were found to be effective for the treatment of single level lumbar disc herniations in patients without degenerative vertebral deformities. No conclusions could be drawn from the clinical randomised studies reviewed regarding the safety of the three techniques studied due to insufficient data on postoperative complications.

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