A retrospective analysis of the long-term outcomes of standard discectomy for lumbar disc herniation.
To investigate the long-term outcomes of standard discectomy to address postoperative problems, including residual low back pain and recurrent herniation.
Most previous investigators found that favorable outcomes of standard discectomy were maintained for the long-term postoperative period. Although they observed postoperative complications such as residual low back pain and recurrent herniation, detailed analyses of these results have not been conducted.
The long-term follow-up results in patients who were observed for a minimum of 10 years after standard discectomy were evaluated by using the Japanese Orthopedic Association scoring system through direct examinations and questionnaires. Radiography also was used in patients who agreed to visit the hospital, and findings were compared with those on preoperative radiographs.
The average recovery rate calculated by using Japanese Orthopedic Association scores was 73.5 +/- 21.7%. Even though residual low back pain was found in 74.6% of the patients, only 12.7% had severe low back pain. The majority of the patients with severe low back pain were under 35 years of age at the time of operation, with preoperative advanced disc degeneration. The final Japanese Orthopedic Association scores in the patients with decreased disc height were significantly lower than those in patients with no decrease. However, the disc height of patients with a recurrent herniation was preserved.
The long-term outcome of standard discectomy in this series was favorable. Although patients with preserved disc height generally had favorable results, the risk of recurrent disc herniation was high in this population.