Unilateral laminotomy for bilateral decompression of lumbar spinal stenosis. Part II: Clinical experiences

U Spetzger, H Bertalanffy, M H Reinges, J M Gilsbach
Acta Neurochirurgica 1997, 139 (5): 397-403
The surgical aim in the treatment of symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis is the relief of the patient's complaints by an adequate neural decompression. Unilateral laminotomy and bilateral spinal canal decompression represents such a safe, effective and minimally invasive surgical method. This technique has been successfully used in the operative treatment of 29 patients with symptomatic mono- or multisegmental lumbar stenosis. There was no surgically induced neurological deterioration. In one patient, an inadvertent dural tear occurred, and due to unchanged symptoms another patient with a multisegmental stenosis had to be re-operated on at an additional level. Postoperatively, 25 of the 27 patients with neurogenic claudication (93%) demonstrated a marked improvement of the walking distance. The follow-up of 25 patients (mean follow-up time was 18 months) demonstrated an excellent result without pain in 7 patients (28%); a good outcome with mild residual pain, but a normal working capacity in 15 patients (60%); and a fair outcome with unchanged postoperative low-back pain but markedly improved working capacity and walking distance in 3 patients (12%). Postoperative morphometric evaluation as well as the clinical improvement of the patient's symptoms clearly demonstrated that bilateral ligamentectomy and recess decompression were adequately and successfully achieved via unilateral approach.

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