Objective : The purpose of this study was to describe a surgical technique of axillary approach of percutaneous endoscopic interlaminar discectomy for L5-S1 disc herniation and its preliminary results. Methods : From July 2002 to September 2003, 101 patients with lumbar radiculopathy due to L5-S1 disc herniation, who were treated by percutaneous interlaminar endoscopic discectomy, were retrospectively reviewed. There were 57 males and 44 females with a mean age of 44.8 years [range, 18 to 62 years]. The surgery consisted of needle insertion into the epidural space via the interlaminar space, sequential dilatation, and endoscopic discectomy through the axillary area of the S1 root. Results : The mean follow-up period was 14.5 months and the average surgical time was 41 min. According to the modified Macnab criteria, 44 patients [43.6%] had excellent outcomes, 49 [48.5%] had good results and only 8 [78%] had fair or poor outcomes. Four patients had a revision microdiscectomy due to incomplete removal of disc fragment. There were no major complications related to this surgical approach. Conclusion : Axillary approach of percutaneous endoscopic interlaminar discectomy is safe and effective procedure for the treatment of L5-Sl disc herniation. It combines the advantages of MED and conventional percutaneous endoscopic discectomy.
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