Send to

Choose Destination
Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2019 Jun 15;59(6):204-212. doi: 10.2176/nmc.oa.2018-0219. Epub 2019 May 9.

Surgical Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Discal Cyst: Is It Enough to Remove the Cyst Only without Following Discectomy?

Author information

Department of Neurosurgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine.
Department of Neurosurgery, Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Neuroscience & Radiosurgery Hybrid Research Center.


Discal cysts are a rare cause of low back pain and radiculopathy with unknown pathophysiologic mechanism. Associated symptoms are difficult to distinguish from those caused by extruded discs and other spinal canal lesions. Most discal cysts are treated surgically, but it is unclear whether the corresponding intervertebral disc should be excised along with cyst. We conducted a retrospective clinical review of 27 patients who underwent discal cyst excision at our institution between 2000 and 2017. The mean follow-up period was 63.6 months. We recorded symptoms, radiographs, operative findings, postoperative complications, and short- and long-term outcomes. Structured outcome assessment was based on Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for pain intensity, Oswestry disability index, and Macnab classification. All patients underwent partial hemilaminectomy and microscopic cyst resection without discectomy. All patients had preoperative back or leg pain. Other preoperative clinical features included motor weakness, neurogenic intermittent claudication, and cauda equina syndrome. After surgery, NRS scores of back and leg pain decreased. The other symptoms also improved. During long-term follow-up, patients reported no restrictions on daily life activities, and were satisfied with our intervention. There were no cases of cyst recurrence. We conducted a review of the literature on lumbar discal cysts published before January, 2018. Including our cases, 126 patients were described. We compared two surgical modalities-cystectomy with and without discectomy-to elucidate both effectiveness and long-term complications. We found that microsurgical cystectomy without corresponding discectomy is an effective surgical treatment for lumbar discal cysts, and is associated with a low recurrence rate.


intervertebral disc; intervertebral disc cyst; intervertebral disc disease; microsurgery; radiculopathy

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for J-STAGE, Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator, Electronic Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center