Yasuo Saruhashi, Kanji Mori, Akitomo Katsuura, Shinobu Takahashi, Yoshitaka Matsusue, Sinsuke Hukuda


April 2004, Volume 13, Issue 7, pp 626 - 630 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-004-0690-8

First Online: 27 April 2004

A retrospective analysis of long-term follow-up results more than 10 years after a standard nucleotomy for lumbar disc herniation with the Love method was done to determine the effectiveness of this procedure. Nucleotomy according to Love was the standard treatment for lumbar disc herniation before the various minimally invasive alternatives were recently introduced. Without long-term follow-up analysis of Love operations, evidence-based evaluation of those new methods is impossible. We believe that the standard nucleotomy procedure should now be evaluated precisely. In this study we present a comparison of 1-year follow-up results to the results more than 10 years after lumbar nucleotomy. Seventy-six consecutive patients who had undergone lumbar nucleotomy were identified. It was possible to assess 54 (71.1%) of the cases more than 10 years after surgery. The initial and final outcomes were assessed using the MacNab classification and the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score. With the MacNab classification a successful outcome 1 year after surgery was achieved in 87.0% of the cases. At the final follow-up, this result was reduced to 74.1%. Seven patients required a second operation and patients under 21 years of age were at risk for reoperation. Patient overall satisfaction with the results of the standard nucleotomy was high. The disc height of the operation site significantly decreased after surgery; nevertheless, this did not affect the clinical outcome. A standard lumbar nucleotomy according to Love is a safe and reliable method of treating selected patients with lumbar disc herniations.


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