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Eur Spine J. 2013 May;22(5):1037-44. doi: 10.1007/s00586-013-2701-0. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Irrigation endoscopic discectomy: a novel percutaneous approach for lumbar disc prolapse.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, 21A Abdelaziz Al Seoud, Manial-EL Roda, Cairo, Egypt.



The purpose of this study is to present a new endoscopic procedure, aiming to achieve the success rate equivalent to microsurgical discectomy, while addressing the drawbacks and limitations of other percutaneous techniques.


A series of 43 patients with uncontained lumbar disc herniation underwent surgery with irrigation endoscopic discectomy (IED). The endoscope and instruments are placed directly over the surface of the lamina through two posterior skin portals 5 mm each without any muscle retraction or dilatation. Pump irrigation is used for the opening of a potential working space. The rest of the procedure is performed endoscopically like the standard microsurgical discectomy.


Outcome according to modified Macnab criteria was excellent in 78%, good in 17%, and poor in 5% of patients. VAS for leg pain dropped from 78 preoperatively to 7, and the Oswestry Low-Back Pain Disability Questionnaire dropped from 76 to 19. The mean time for postoperative ambulation was 4 h, hospital stay was 8 h, and for return to work was 7 days.


Preliminary clinical experience with IED shows it to be as effective as microsurgical discectomy, and in comparison to other percutaneous procedures addressing noncontained herniations, a reduction in the cost, technical difficulty and surgical invasiveness has been demonstrated.

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