Role of percutaneous neurolysis in lumbar disc herniation: systematic review and meta-analysis


Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Background: Recalcitrant disc herniation may result in chronic lumbar radiculopathy or sciatica. Fluoroscopically directed epidural injections and other conservative modalities may provide inadequate improvement in some patients. In these cases, percutaneous neurolysis with targeted delivery of medications is often the next step in pain management.

Methods: An evidence-based system of methodologic assessment, namely, the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) was used. Multiple databases were searched from 1966 to January 2021. Principles of the best evidence synthesis were incorporated into qualitative evidence synthesis. The primary outcome measure was the proportion of patients with significant pain relief and functional improvement (≥ 50%). Duration of relief was categorized as short-term (< 6 months) and long-term (≥ 6 months).

Results: This assessment identified one high-quality randomized controlled trial (RCT) and 5 moderate-quality non-randomized studies with an application of percutaneous neurolysis in disc herniation. Overall, the results were positive, with level II evidence.

Conclusions: Based on the present systematic review, with one RCT and 5 nonrandomized studies, the evidence level is II for percutaneous neurolysis in managing lumbar disc herniation.

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