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Nucleoplasty for treating lumbar disk degenerative low back pain: an outcome prediction analysis

Authors Liliang PC, Lu K, Liang CL, Chen YW, Tsai YD, Tu YK

Received 5 July 2016

Accepted for publication 25 August 2016

Published 31 October 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 893—898


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael E Schatman

Po-Chou Liliang,1 Kang Lu,1 Cheng-Loong Liang,1 Ya-Wen Chen,2,3 Yu-Duan Tsai,1 Yuan-Kun Tu4

1Department of Neurosurgery, E-Da Hospital, 2Department of Nursing, I-Shou University, 3School of Nursing, Kaohsiung Medical University, 4Department of Orthopedic Surgery, E-Da Hospital, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Purpose: Nucleoplasty is a minimally invasive technique that is considered efficacious in alleviating lumbar disk degenerative low back pain (LBP). The efficacy of nucleoplasty and identified variables that can predict pain relief for nucleoplasty was reported.
Patients and methods: Between December 2013 and November 2015, 47 nucleoplasty procedures on 47 lumbar disks in 31 consecutive patients were performed. The outcome was evaluated using a visual analog scale (VAS) score. Improvements of ≥50% in VAS scores were considered substantial pain relief. The variables associated with pain relief after nucleoplasty included: 1) age; 2) sex; 3) body mass index; 4) hyperintensity zone at the rear of the disk; 5) hypointensity of the disk; 6) Modic changes of the end plates; 7) spinal instability pain; and 8) discography results.
Results: Twenty-one patients (67.7%) experienced substantial pain relief. The most common side effects following nucleoplasty were soreness at the needle puncture site (64.5%), numbness in the lower leg (12.9%), and increased intensity of back pain (9.7%). All side effects were transient. Multivariate analysis revealed that the discography results were the most critical predictor for substantial pain relief of nucleoplasty (P=0.03). The sensitivity and specificity of discography were 92.8% and 62.5%, respectively.
Conclusion: Discography results could improve the success rate of nucleoplasty in the treatment of disk degenerative LBP.

Keywords: low back pain, lumbar disk degenerative, nucleoplasty, discography

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