In The News: 10/09

A comparison of surgical treatments for sciatica has found that tubular discectomy-a minimally invasive procedure in which a tubular retractor is used to create a tunnel to the spinal column to remove fragments from a herniated disk-is no better in improving functional disability than conventional microdiscectomy, in which the muscles of the back are stripped away from the spine to allow access to the herniated disc. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 328 patients age 18 to 70 with leg pain due to lumbar disc herniations underwent either tubular discectomy or conventional microdisctomy. After measuring functional ability, pain, and self-report of recovery, researchers found that the rates of recovery for both procedures were not only similar, but patients who underwent tubular discectomy fared worse with regard to leg and back pain, and fewer patients reported complete recovery at one year.
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