Background: Upper lumbar disc herniation (ULDH) is described mostly in levels L1-2, L2-3 and L3-4 of the lumbar spine in the literature and accounts for less than 10% of all disc herniations. The aim of our study was to evaluate the clinical characteristics and surgical results of ULDH.
Methods: 367 patients treated for upper lumbar disc herniation and 2,137 treated for lower lumbar disc herniation (LLDH) between January 2008 and January 2017 were included. They were followed up postoperatively at 12 months by radiological investigations, back and leg pain Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Preoperative data comprised age group (20-40, 40-60, 60-80 years), gender (male, female), lumbar level (L1-2, L2-3, L3-4), side of disc herniation (left, right) and symptom duration (0-3, 3-6, 6-9 months).
Results: ODI and VAS scores improved significantly postoperatively for all patients. Of the 367 ULDH patients, 169 were female (54%) and 198 male (46%), with a mean age of 55.8±10.1 years (range, 35–71). In 174 (47.4%) patients symptom duration was 3 months, in 99 (27.0%) 3-6 months, and in 94 (25.6%) 6-9 months. At 12 months, ODI, back and leg pain VAS scores showed a significant difference in improvement according to ULDH symptom duration <3 months and to LLDH symptom duration <6 months.
Conclusion: Microdiscectomy in ULDH provided sufficient and safe decompression of neural structures, with significant reduction in symptoms and disability. We suggest that early surgical treatment is an important factor for good outcome in ULDH.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Abbreviations : LLDH, ODI, ULDH, VAS
Keywords : upper lumbar disc herniation, microdiscectomy, surgical outcome