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Percutaneous Transforaminal Endoscopic Decompression for Lumbar Foraminal Stenosis

Background: Several different techniques exist to address the pain and disability caused by isolated nerve root impingement. Failure to adequately decompress the lumbar foramen may lead to failed back surgery syndrome. However, aggressive treatment often causes spinal instability or may require fusion for satisfactory results. We describe a novel technique for decompression of the lumbar nerve root and demonstrate its effectiveness in relief of radicular symptoms.

Materials and methods: Percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic decompression was performed by removal of the herniated disc in patients with lumbar foraminal stenosis. 91 patients underwent the procedure from 2003 to 2015. Those who demonstrated neurogenic claudication without spinal instability or central canal stenosis and failed conservative management were eligible for the procedure. These patients were followed for an average of 39 months to evaluate outcomes.

Results: The results were excellent in 50 patients, good in 39, and fair in 2. There were no surgery-related complications. Lateral lumbar spine flexion–extension radiography was performed in all patients at various times ranging from 3 to 48 months after the surgery, and no evidence of postoperative spinal instability was found.

Conclusions: Percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic decompression is an effective means to decompress the lumbar nerve root foramen without causing spinal instability.


Young-Ha Woo, Heung-Tae Jung, In-Bo Kim, Woo-Seong Sun and Dong-Wook Jung

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