Intradiscal Expandable Balloon Distraction During Transforaminal Decompression for Lumbar Foraminal and Lateral Recess Stenosis

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Advanced videoendoscopic equipment (such as motorized drills, chisels, and rongeurs) facilitates the use of modern decompression tools through the inner working channel of the spinal endoscope using the transforaminal approach. Postoperative dysesthetic leg pain, however, is common because of irritation of the dorsal root ganglion. This article presents a novel surgical technique employing an expandable balloon placed into the hollow intervertebral space in patients without any functional disc tissue to distract the stenotic motion segment. This approach improves visualization, facilitates removal of bone during the decompression, and minimizes intraoperative manipulation of the exiting and traversing nerve roots. In a study of 52 targeted patients with symptomatic spinal stenosis at 60 levels (L2/3-1, L3/4-9, L4/5-28, and L5/S1-22) due to advanced degenerative changes of the intervertebral disc and facet joint complex contributing to both foraminal and lateral recess stenosis, only 2 of the 52 patients complained of postoperative dysesthetic leg pain (3.85%) after undergoing this novel procedure. At the final 2-year follow-up, 80.9% of patients showed Excellent and Good outcomes according to modified Macnab criteria.

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