Factors Related to the Primary Discectomy in Recurrent Lumbar Disc Herniation
The degree of disc removal did not influence the outcome or complication rate in Fountas et al., clinical series 1)
For Carragee et al., the more aggressive removal of remaining intervertebral disc material may decrease the risk of reherniation, but the overall outcome was less satisfactory, especially during the first year after surgery 2).
McGirt et al., found that larger annulus defects and smaller percentage of disc removed during primary surgery, rather than absolute volume as reported in previous studies, were associated with an increased risk of recurrent lumbar disc herniation while more aggressive removal contributed to accelerated disc height loss 3).
A systematic review of the literature suggests that conservative discectomy may result in shorter operative time, quicker return to work, and a decreased incidence of long-term recurrent low back pain but with an increased incidence of recurrent disc herniation. Prospective randomized trails are needed to firmly assess this possible benefit. 4).
The question remains how to balance the desire for maintaining disc height with minimizing the risk for reherniation 5).