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17.05.2019 | Original Article

Laser-assisted endoscopic lumbar foraminotomy for failed back surgery syndrome in elderly patients

Lasers in Medical Science
Yong Ahn, Han Joong Keum, Sang Ha Shin, Jung Ju Choi
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Elderly patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) or post-laminectomy foraminal stenosis have a higher risk of perioperative morbidity with extensive revision surgery. Thus, there is a need for safer and less invasive surgical options, such as laser-assisted endoscopic lumbar foraminotomy (ELF). A pin-point laser beam can allow precise tissue ablation and dissection in fibrotic adhesion tissues while preventing normal tissue injury. The present study aimed to describe the surgical technique of laser-assisted ELF and to evaluate the clinical outcomes of elderly patients with FBSS. Two-year follow-up data were collected from 26 consecutive patients aged 65 years or older who were treated with laser-assisted ELF for FBSS. Full-endoscopic foraminal decompression was performed using a side-firing laser and mechanical instruments. The average age of the patients was 70.2 years (range, 65–83 years). The mean visual analog pain score for leg pain improved from 8.58 at baseline to 3.35 at 6 weeks, 2.19 at 1 year, and 2.35 at 2 years after ELF (P < 0.001). The mean Oswestry disability index improved from 65.93 at baseline to 31.41 at 6 weeks, 21.77 at 1 year, and 20.64 at 2 years after ELF (P < 0.001). Based on the modified Macnab criteria, excellent or good results were obtained in 84.6% patients and symptomatic improvements were obtained in 92.3%. Extensive revision surgery in elderly patients might cause significant surgical morbidities. Laser-assisted ELF under local anesthesia could be a safe and effective surgical alternative for such patients at risk.

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