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J Clin Neurosci. 2011 Jan;18(1):81-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2010.04.040. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

Minimally invasive compared to open microdiscectomy for lumbar disc herniation.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, University of California at San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, Box 0112, San Francisco, California 94143-0112, USA.


Before the advent of minimally invasive surgery for microdiscectomy, an open microdiscectomy had been the standard surgical intervention. Minimally invasive techniques have recently become more popular based upon the premise that smaller, less traumatic incisions should afford better recovery times and outcomes. From 2005 to 2008 we analyzed the outcomes of 25 patients who received an open microdiscectomy compared to 20 patients who received a minimally invasive microdiscectomy by the senior author (DC) in the lumbar region for disc herniation. A retrospective analysis was performed by carefully reviewing medical records for perioperative and immediate postoperative outcomes, and clinical follow-up was obtained either in the clinic or by telephone. There were no statistically significant differences between the minimally invasive and open groups in terms of operative time, length of stay, neurological outcome, complication rate, or change in pain score (pain improvement).

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