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Does the use of tranexamic acid intraoperatively reduce postoperative blood loss and complications following biportal endoscopic lumbosacral decompression?

BACKGROUND: Biportal endoscopic spine surgery is an effective minimally invasive technique for treating common lumbar pathologies. We aim to evaluate the impact of intraoperative tranexamic acid (TXA) use on postoperative blood loss in biportal endoscopic decompression surgery.

METHODS: Patients undergoing biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomies and decompressions either by same day surgery or overnight stay at a single institution beginning in October 2021 were prospectively enrolled. This study was non-randomized, non-blinded with the first cohort of consecutive patients receiving 1 g of intravenous TXA intra-operatively before closure and the second cohort of consecutive patients receiving no TXA. Exclusion criteria included any revision surgery, any surgery for the diagnosis of spinal instability, infection, tumor, or trauma, any contraindication for TXA.

RESULTS: Eighty-four patients were included in the study, with 45 (54%) receiving TXA and 39 (46%) not receiving TXA. Median follow-up was 168 days [interquartile range (IQR), 85-368 days]. There were no differences in patient or surgical characteristics between cohorts. Estimated blood loss (EBL) was similar (P=0.20), while post-operative drain output was significantly lower in the TXA cohort (P=0.0028). Single level discectomies had significantly less drain output as compared to 2 level unilateral laminotomy, bilateral decompression (ULBD) cases (P<0.005). Post-operative complications were similar, with low rates of wound complication (1.2%) and transient postoperative weakness (2.4%, P>0.99 for both). Oswestry disability index (ODI), visual analog scale (VAS) back and VAS leg scores decreased significantly; the absolute decrease in scores did not differ between groups (P=0.71, 0.22, 0.86, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Systemic intraoperative TXA administration is associated with a significant decrease in post-operative blood loss in biportal spinal endoscopy, with no impact on the improvement in patient-reported outcomes (PROs) or rate of post-operative complications. Single level biportal discectomies had significantly less postoperative drainage with TXA and may not need drains postoperatively. Larger, randomized studies are necessary to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of TXA use in biportal spinal endoscopy.

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