To report and compare the number and grade of major complications presented with non-endoscopic thermal discectomy and nucleoplasty for the treatment of discogenic axial lumbar pain using laser and radiofrequency.
A 21 years retrospective study was conducted of the clinical charts of patients whose reason for consultation was axial lumbar pain from degenerative disc disease, and who underwent surgery using non-endoscopic discectomy and nucleoplasty (NEDN). Two groups were established; the first, NEDN with laser, and second, NEDN with radiofrequency. The number and types of complications reported in the case-series were counted, and their statistical differences determined.
The inclusion criteria were fulfilled by 643 of the medical charts. 26 complications were reported, the most common being radiculitis (n=12). Statistically significant differences were found between the complications occurring in the two groups (p=0.01).
The number of complications showed statistically significant difference. The severity of the complications and adverse outcomes provide an argument for choosing one technology over the other. Training and the learning curve stage are important factors to be taken into account, to avoid complications.