COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Minimally invasive spinal surgery using nucleoplasty and the Dekompressor tool: a comparison of two methods in a one year follow-up.

OBJECT: The Disc Dekompressor and Nucleoplasty are 2 different, minimally invasive, percutaneous methods in the therapy for chronic discogenic low back pain. The aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness of both methods concerning the outcome one year after surgery.

METHODS: We included patients with MRI-proven disc protrusion suffering from low back pain and/or radiating pain in the lower extremities. The pain perception of the patients was documented using the visual analogue pain scale (VAS). Furthermore, the patients were queried about analgesic consumption, disability in daily life and ability to work. Percutaneous minimally invasive nucleotomy using the Nucleoplasty or the Disc Dekompressor was carried out under fluoroscopic and CT-guidance. We carried out a follow-up examination at 6 and 12 months after the operation.

RESULTS: From April 2005 to November 2007 a total of 126 patients underwent percutaneous minimally invasive nucleotomy using Nucleoplasty (April 2005 - December 2006) or the Disk Dekompressor (February 2006 - November 2007) and were followed up after 6 and 12 months. In the Nucleoplasty group the mean age of the 27 females (39%) and 42 males (61%) was 42 years (range: 18-74). In the Disc Dekompressor group the mean age of the 22 females (39%) and 35 males (61%) was 44 years (range: 16-76). The mean duration of symptoms in the Nucleoplasty group was 30.5 months (range: 1-120), and in the Disc Dekompressor group 16.3 months (range: 1-72). Statistically significant postoperative improvement concerning the VAS score was evident in both groups. Whereas the VAS score slightly increased in the Nucleoplasty group comparing the early postoperative score and the score after 12 months, the VAS score stayed on a low level in the Disc Dekompressor group. A statistically significant reduction in analgesic consumption, disability and occupational incapacitation was observed in the Nuceloplasty group and the Disc Dekompressor group.

CONCLUSIONS: Both Nucleoplasty and Disc Dekompressor are effective therapies for chronic, discogenic back pain. Regardless of the different mechanism no significant differences in the outcomes were found. Both techniques result in significant reductions in levels of disability and incapacity for work as well as decreased analgesic consumption.

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