Innovative Technique for the Placement of the Drainage Tube for Microendoscopic Spinal Decompression

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Study Design:

A technical note and retrospective study.


The objectives were to describe a new method of drainage tube placement during microendoscopic spinal decompression, and compare the positioning and fluid discharge obtained with this method and the conventional method.

Summary of Background Data:

To prevent postoperative epidural hematoma after microendoscopic decompression, a drainage tube must be placed in a suitable location. However, the narrow operative field makes precise control of the position of the tube technically difficult. We developed a method to reliably place the tube in the desired location.

Materials and Methods:

We use a Deschamps aneurysm needle with a slightly curved tip, which we call a drain passer. With the microendoscope in position, the drain passer, with a silk thread passed through the eye at the needle tip, is inserted percutaneously into the endoscopic field of view. The drainage tube is passed through the loop of silk thread protruding from the inside of the tubular retractor, and the thread is pulled to the outside, guiding the end of the drainage tube into the wound. This method was used in 23 cases at 44 intervertebral levels (drain passer group), and the conventional method in 20 cases at 32 intervertebral levels (conventional group). Postoperative plain radiographs were taken, and the amount of fluid discharge at postoperative hour 24 was measured.


Drainage tube positioning was favorable at 43 intervertebral levels (97.7%) in the drain passer group and 26 intervertebral levels (81.3%) in the conventional group. Mean fluid discharge was 58.4±32.2 g in the drain passer group and 38.4±23.0 g in the conventional group. Positioning was significantly better and fluid discharge was significantly greater in the drain passer group.


The results indicate that this method is a useful drainage tube placement technique for preventing postoperative epidural hematoma.

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