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Eur Spine J. 2012 Apr;21(4):637-45. doi: 10.1007/s00586-011-2103-0. Epub 2011 Dec 10.

Thoracoscopic treatment for single level symptomatic thoracic disc herniation: a prospective followed cohort study in a group of 167 consecutive cases.

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Orthopaedic and Trauma Center, Spine Unit, St. Marien-Hospital Hamm, Nassauerstr. 13-19, 59065, Hamm, Germany.



Thoracic disc disease with radicular pain and myelopathic symptoms can have serious neurological sequelae. The authors present a relevant treatment option.


Data of patients with single level symptomatic thoracic disc herniation treated with thoracoscopic microdiscectomy were prospectively collected over a period of 10 years. Data collection included the preoperative status and the follow-up status was 6, 12 and 24 months after surgery for every patient.


A total of 167 single level thorascoscopic discectomies without previous surgery on the level of the procedure were included in this study. The average preoperative duration of pain symptoms was 14.3 months, myelopathic symptoms were present for an average of 16.7 months before surgery. After the procedure pain scores measured with visual analog scale (VAS) decreased by 4.4 points and the muscle strength improved by a mean of 4.6 points (American Spinal Injury Association ASIA motor score). After 2 years, 79% of the patients reported a excellent or good outcome for pain and 80% of the patients reported a excellent or good outcome for motor function. The overall complication rate was 15.6%.


Thoracoscopic microdiscectomy for single level symptomatic disc herniation is a highly effective and reliable technique, it can be performed safely with low complication rate.

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