Background: Throughout the last decades, endoscopic techniques to treat lumbar disc herniation (LDH) have gained popularity in clinical practice. However, there is little literature on the treatment of Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) due to lumbar disc herniation with percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy (PELD). This study aims to evaluate the feasibility and clinical efficacy of PELD for CES caused by disc herniation.
Methods: Between October 2012 and April 2017, 15 patients CES caused by LDH at the early and intermediate stages of Shi’s classification were selected as the objects of study, who underwent PELD. All patients were followed up for at least two years. The patients’ lumbar pain and limb pain were evaluated using visual analogue scale (VAS) scores. Patient's satisfaction was evaluated using the MacNab outcome scale. Clinical outcomes were measured preoperatively, at 3 days, 3 months, 6 month and the last follow-up.
Results: The VAS score for lumbar pain was 6.67±1.05 preoperatively and 3.27±0.96, 2.73±0.46, 2.40±0.51, and 1.80±0.41, at 3 days, 3 months, 6 months and the last follow-up postoperatively respectively. The VAS score for limb pain was 7.13±1.19 preoperatively and 2.93±0.80, 2.60±0.51, 2.20±0.56, and 1.47±0.52, at 3 days, 3 months, 6 months and the last follow-up postoperatively respectively. These postoperative scores were all significantly different when compared with preoperative scores (P < 0.01). According to the modified MacNab outcome scale, excellent was obtained in 8 of 15 patients, good was obtained in 5 patients, and fair was obtained in 2 patients, and 86.67% of these patients had excellent and good outcomes at the final follow-up. Complications included one patient of cerebrospinal fluid leakage, and one patient developed recurrent herniation and who finally acquired satisfactory result after reoperation.
Conclusion: PELD could be used as an alternative surgical method for the treatment of CES due to lumbar disc herniation in properly selected cases and appropriate patient selection. However, the operator should pay attention to foraminoplasty to enlarge the working space.