Incidental Durotomy in Open Versus Tubular Revision Microdiscectomy: A Retrospective Controlled Study on Incidence, Management, and Outcome

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Study Design:Retrospective case-control study.Objective:To compare the incidence, management, and outcome of incidental durotomy in revision microdiscectomy with open and minimal-access surgery.Summary of Background Data:Incidental durotomy occurs with a variable incidence of 3%–27% in spine surgery. The highest rate occurs in revision microdiscectomy. The intraoperative and postoperative management of dural tears varies in the literature and the definite impact on clinical outcome has to be clarified.Methods:This is a retrospective study of medical records of 135 patients who underwent revision microdiscectomy, divided into 2 subgroups: OPEN (n=82) versus minimal-access surgery (MINI, n=53). Occurrence of intraoperative dural tears, intraoperative and postoperative management of durotomy, and clinical outcomes, according to MacNab criteria, were retrospectively examined. Statistical comparisons for categorical values between groups were accomplished using the 2-tailed Fisher exact test. P-values <0.05 were considered to be statistically significant.Results:The incidence of durotomy in group OPEN was 19.5% (n=16/82) and in group MINI 17.0% (n=9/53) (P=0.822). The majority of durotomies (23/25) were repaired with an absorbable fibrin sealant patch alone. Postoperative cerebrospinal fluid fistula occurred only in 1 case of the OPEN group and was treated with lumbar drainage without the need for a reoperation. Patients with durotomy of the MINI group tended to have better outcome compared with those of the OPEN group without being statistically significant.Conclusions:The incidence of durotomy and postoperative cerebrospinal fluid fistula in lumbar revision microdiscectomy does not significantly differ between minimal-access and standard open procedures. The application of a fibrin sealant patch alone is an effective strategy for dural repair in revision lumbar microdiscectomy.

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