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Long-Term Follow-Up of Lumbar Microdiscectomy: Unveiling the 10-Year Outcome


7.28 - What Is the Outcome of a 10-Year Follow-Up of Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Lumbar microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure commonly used to treat herniated discs in the lower back, providing relief from pain and restoring mobility. While short-term outcomes of this surgery have been extensively studied, the long-term effects have remained a topic of interest. This article will discuss the findings of a comprehensive 10-year follow-up study on lumbar microdiscectomy. By understanding the outcome of this procedure over the long term, patients and healthcare professionals can make more informed decisions regarding treatment options for lumbar disc herniation.

The Study: Tracking the Journey

The results of the 10-year follow-up study were published in Spine, the leading subspecialty journal for the treatment of spinal disorders. The study aimed to evaluate the long-term outcomes of lumbar microdiscectomy (a minimally invasive form of lumbar discectomy), focusing on patient-reported measures of pain, function, and quality of life. A cohort of patients who underwent the surgery a decade before was closely monitored and assessed at regular intervals. Below are the key findings from this study.

Sustained Pain Relief

The study revealed that the majority of patients experienced sustained pain relief after a 10-year period. Around 80 percent of patients reported significant reductions in back pain and leg pain, contributing to improved daily functioning and overall quality of life. This outcome highlights the effectiveness of lumbar microdiscectomy as a long-term solution for relieving pain caused by herniated discs.

Functional Recovery

The surgical intervention demonstrated remarkable improvements in functional recovery over the 10-year period. Patients reported increased ability to perform activities of daily living, including walking, sitting, and lifting objects. This improvement not only enhanced physical functioning but also had a positive impact on their mental wellbeing and overall satisfaction with life.

Recurrence Rates

One of the concerns associated with lumbar microdiscectomy is the potential for recurrent disc herniation. The study found that the rate of recurrent herniation was relatively low, with only 15 percent of patients experiencing a recurrence within the 10-year follow-up period. This indicates that lumbar microdiscectomy offers a durable solution for most patients, reducing the need for further back surgery procedures.

Quality of Life

The long-term study assessed the impact of lumbar microdiscectomy on patients' quality of life. The results showed significant improvements in physical and mental health domains, such as reduced disability, improved sleep, and diminished reliance on pain medication. The surgery not only relieved pain but also had a broader positive influence on patients' overall wellbeing, highlighting its long-term benefits.

Complications and Adverse Events

While lumbar microdiscectomy is generally considered a safe procedure, the study also evaluated the incidence of complications and adverse events. The findings demonstrated a low rate of surgical complications, with less than 5 percent of patients experiencing complications such as infection or nerve damage. This further reinforces the safety and effectiveness of the surgery as a viable long-term treatment option.

The 10-year follow-up study on lumbar microdiscectomy provides valuable insights into the long-term outcome of this surgical procedure. The results confirm the surgery is associated with sustained pain relief, functional recovery, and improved quality of life for the majority of patients. With low rates of recurrence and minimal complications, lumbar microdiscectomy emerges as a reliable long-term solution for individuals suffering from herniated discs.

It is important to note that each patient's situation is unique, and decisions regarding treatment options should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals. However, the findings of this study offer encouraging evidence for the effectiveness and durability of lumbar microdiscectomy in providing long-term relief from pain and improving overall spinal health.

Although microdiscectomy surgery is generally a very successful procedure, patients with a larger hole in the outer ring of the disc have a significantly higher risk of reherniation following surgery. Often, the surgeon will not know the size of the hole until he or she begins surgery. A new treatment, Barricaid, which is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce reherniations, was specifically designed to close the large hole often left in the spinal disc after discectomy. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. In a large-scale study, 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in the 2-year study timeframe. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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