Álvaro Dowling, K. Lewandrowski, F. H. P. da Silva
Jan 1, 2020
Journal of spine surgery
Background The indications of different endoscopic and endoscopically assisted translaminar approaches for lumbar spinal stenosis are not well-defined, and validated protocols for the use of the transforaminal over the interlaminar approach are lacking. Methods We performed a retrospective study employing an image-based patient stratification protocol of stenosis location (type I-central canal, type II-lateral recess, type III-foraminal, type IV-extraforaminal) and clinical outcomes on 249 patients consisting of 137 (55%) men and 112 (45%) women with an average age of 56.03±16.8 years who underwent endoscopic surgery for symptomatic spinal stenosis from January 2013 to February 2019. The average follow-up of 38.27±27.9 months. The primary clinical outcome measures were the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and modified Macnab criteria. Results The frequency of stenosis configuration in decreasing order was as follows: type I-121/249; 48.6%, type III-104/249; 41.8%, type II-15/249; 6%, and type IV-9/249; 3.6%. The transforaminal approach (137/249; 55.0%) was used in most type II to IV lesions followed by the interlaminar approach (78/249; 31.3%), and the full endoscopic approach (12/249; 4.8%), and the endoscopically assisted translaminar approach (8/249; 3.2%) which was exclusively used for type I lesions. Macnab outcomes analysis showed Excellent in 47 patients (18.9%), Good in 178 (71.5%), Fair in 18 (7.2%) and Poor in 6 (2.4%), respectively. Paired two-tailed t-test showed statistically significant VAS (5.46±2.1; P<0.0001) and ODI (37.1±16.9; P<0.0001) reductions as a result of the endoscopic decompression surgery. Cross-tabulation of the Macnab outcomes versus the endoscopic approach and surgical technique confirmed beneficial association of the approach selection with Excellent (P=0.001) and Good (P<0.0001) outcomes with statistically significance. Conclusions This study suggests that in the hands of skilled endoscopic spines surgeon use of an image-based stenosis location protocol may contribute to obtaining Excellent and Good clinical outcomes in a high percentage (93%) of patients suffering from lumbar stenosis related radiculopathy. Additional comparative studies should examine the prognostic value of choosing the endoscopic approach on the basis of the proposed four-type stenosis protocol by correlating its impact on outcomes with preoperative diagnostic injections and intraoperative direct visualization of symptomatic pain generators under local anesthesia and sedation.