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Endoscopic Epidural Laser Decompression Versus Transforaminal Epiduroscopic Laser Annuloplasty for Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Prospective, Randomized Trial.

Pain Physician 2017 November
BACKGROUND: Lumbar radicular pain often results from lumbar disc herniation, spinal stenosis, or degenerative spondylolisthesis. Minimally invasive disc decompression procedures, such as nucleo-annuloplasty or epiduroscopic neural decompression by laser, have been devised to treat such pain.

OBJECTIVE: The short-term outcomes of disc decompression by endoscopic epidural laser decompression (EELD) or transforaminal epiduroscopic laser annuloplasty (TELA) were compared in patients with lumbar radicular pain due to disc herniation.

STUDY DESIGN: A randomized, prospective trial.

SETTING: The Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Spine Health Wooridul Hospital in Daegu, Korea.

METHODS: A total of 97 patients were enrolled in this study; 48 patients underwent EELD and 49 underwent TELA. The pain relief was evaluated at baseline and at 1, 3, and 6 months post-procedure via the numeric rating scale (NRS). The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was recorded at baseline and at the final follow-up. Postoperative wound pain was assessed over a 24-hour period. Complications and side effects were also recorded, as were operative times (from local anesthetic infiltration at entry sites to suturing of skin).

RESULTS: At post-treatment months 1, 3, and 6 the mean pain scores of patients were significantly lower (relative to pre-treatment baseline) regardless of the procedure used. However, the mean pain scores did not differ significantly by procedure (EELD vs TELA). As well, the number of patients who obtained relief from their pain and needed analgesics was not statistically significant. The irrigation volume was significantly higher in the TELA group. Two patients undergoing TELA procedures experienced headache during the procedures; however, no serious complications such as bleeding, dural/neural injuries, or infection were recorded for either group.

LIMITATION: The observed significant reductions in pain (from baseline) lacked secondary outcome substantiation and given the mid follow-up period, no long-term follow-up results were monitored.

CONCLUSION: Both EELD and TELA provide similar outcomes and are reasonable treatment options for carefully selected patients with lower back or radicular pain.

KEY WORDS: Epiduroscopy, laser, annuloplasty, disc, herniation, TELA.

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