Supplementary vertebral fusion offers few, if any, advantages over simple excision of the protruding fibrocartilage in patients with herniated lumbar intervertebral discs, a retrospective study indicates.
Spinal fusion as an adjunct to resection in patients with lumbar disc rupture has been a subject of dispute among neurosurgeons. Previous studies have suggested that resection was more effective if the vertebrae above and below the site of the rupture were stabilized by inserting an H graft between their spinous processes.
This assumption is questioned by many neurosurgeons who regard the increased risk of complications and prolonged period of convalescence following supplementary fusion as among the disadvantages of the procedure.
380 Cases Reviewed
To determine what, if any, advantages supplementary spinal fusion offered, physicians at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital reviewed the postoperative course of 380 patients with proved disc ruptures at the lower lumbar interspaces. Simple resection of the protruded disc was done