Full-Endoscopic Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy for the Operation of Lateral Disc Herniations Using 5.9-mm Endoscopes: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Study

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Study Design.

Prospective, randomized, controlled study of patients with lateral cervical disc herniations, operated either in a full-endoscopic posterior or conventional microsurgical anterior technique.


Comparison of results of cervical discectomies in full-endoscopic posterior foraminotomy technique with the conventional microsurgical anterior decompression and fusion.

Summary of Background Data.

Anterior cervical decompression and fusion is the standard procedure for operation of cervical disc herniations with radicular arm pain. Mobility-preserving posterior foraminotomy is the most common alternative in the case of lateral localization of the pathology. Despite good clinical results, problems may arise due to traumatization of the access. Endoscopic techniques are considered standard in many areas, since they may offer advantages in surgical technique and rehabilitation. These days, all disc herniations of the lumbar spine can be operated in full-endoscopic technique. With the full-endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy a procedures is available for cervical disc operations.


One hundred and seventy-five patients with full-endoscopic posterior or microsurgical anterior cervical discectomy underwent follow-up for 2 years. In addition to general and specific parameters, the following measuring instruments were used: VAS, German version North American Spine Society Instrument, Hilibrand Criteria.


After surgery 87.4% of the patients no longer had arm pain, and 9.2% had occasional pain. The clinical results were the same in both groups. There were no significant difference between the groups in the revision or complication rate. The full-endoscopic technique brought advantages in operation technique, preserving mobility, rehabilitation, and traumatization.


The recorded results show that the full-endoscopic posterior foraminotomy is a sufficient and safe supplement and alternative to conventional procedures when the indication criteria are fulfilled. At the same time, it offers the advantages of a minimally invasive intervention.

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