Management of disc herniations with bi-radicular symptoms via combined lateral and interlaminar approach

Neurosurg Review

Large lumbosacral disc herniations causing bi-radicular symptoms are very rare clinical entities and may present a surgical challenge. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of the simply modified combined lateral and interlaminar approach for the treatment of these unique disc herniations. Between 2000 and 2005, 18 patients with bi-radicular symptoms secondary to large disc herniations of the lumbar spine underwent surgery. There were 13 men and five women, ranging in age between 25 and 64 years (mean 54.3 years). In this three-step operation, the osseous areas that are not essential for the facet joint were removed and both upper and lower nerve roots were decompressed. There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications, except transient dysesthesia in one (5.5%) patient. The mean follow-up period was 62.6 months (range 36–96 months). At the latest follow-up examination, outcomes using the Macnab classification were excellent in 13 patients (72.2 %), good in four (22.2%) and fair in one (5.5%). Recurrent disc herniations and/or instability, either symptomatic or radiographic, have not occurred as a result of the procedure during the follow-up period. The combined approach described here is a safe and effective procedure in the surgical treatment of this subtype of disc herniations with bi-radicular involvement. It permits optimum decompression of both nerve roots, avoiding the risk of secondary spinal instability.