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Minim Invasive Neurosurg. 1998 Mar;41(1):5-9.

Endoscopic laser foraminoplasty on the lumbar spine--early experience.

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Spinal Foundation, Rochdale, England.


Since April 1995 this endoscope assisted laser technique has been used for widening the lumbar exit route foramina. Patient selection included individuals with primarily unilateral sciatica as well as low back pain and referred buttock pain following various operative interventions. Endoscopic laser foraminoplasty (ELF) utilises an endoscope, a uniportal posterolateral approach and a side firing holmium laser probe. Under direct vision and within the protection of saline solution, epidural scarring, extruded and sequestrated disc protrusions and/or osteophytes are removed by holmium laser ablation. The patient is responsive and aware under neurolept analgesia and this ensures the protection and the integrity of the nerve root. A total of 219 such interventions has been performed up to January 1, 1997. The first 48 cases with a follow-up exceeding 12 months have been included in this preliminary review. Initial experience is encouraging. The ELF seems to provide another means of addressing sequelae of primary degenerative disorders as well as the common consequences of conventional spine surgery. ELF provides an alternative to minimal intervention fenestrectomy and open surgical undercutting for predominantly unisegmental and unilateral lateral recess stenosis and in selected cases it may prevent or delay the indication of spinal fusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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