Alessandro Siccoli, Marc L. Schröder, Victor E. Staartjes

April 2021, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 893 - 898 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06692-1

First Online: 14 December 2020

Association of age with incidence and timing of recurrence after microdiscectomy for lumbar disc herniation


Recurrent lumbar disc herniation (LDH) is the most frequent reason for reoperation after lumbar microdiscectomy. While several risk factors for recurrent LDH have been well-described, the effect of age on recurrence remains unclear, especially concerning the timing of recurrent LDH.


From a prospective registry, we identified all patients who underwent tubular microdiscectomy for LDH. Recurrent LDH was defined as reoperation for LDH at the same index level and side. The associations among age and incidence of recurrent LDH as well as on time to recurrent LDH were statistically evaluated using multivariable analysis of covariance, linear regression, and Cox proportional hazards modelling.


Of the 3013 patients who underwent surgery for LDH, 166 (5.5%) had to undergo reoperation due to LDH recurrence. Uni- and multivariable analysis revealed no influence of age on the incidence of recurrent LDH (both p > 0.05). Linear regression indicated earlier reoperation in older patients, both with (β = −0.248) and without (β = −0.374) correction for confounders (both p 


In an analysis of a large prospective database of patients undergoing microdiscectomy for lumbar disc herniation, we found that younger patients do not have a higher reoperation probability than their older counterparts, even after correcting for multiple confounders. However, older patients tend to experience recurrent LDH significantly earlier after the index surgery compared to younger patients.

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