Ewha Med J.  2000 Dec;23(3):91-96. 10.12771/emj.2000.23.3.91.

Surgical Treatment for Upper Lumbar Disc Herniation

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery College of Medicine, Ewha Woman's University, Tongdaemun Hospital, Korea.


Lumbar disc herniations at the L1-L2, L2-L3, and L3-L4 level are rare. The purpose of this study is to observe the variable clinical finding of upper lumbar disc herniations and to provide proper treatment modality.
Between 1998 Jan. and 1999 Dec., seventeen patients with upper lumbar disc herniations who were undergone surgery in our institute were retrospectively evaluated. Patients were evaluated based on following factors : age, sex, aggravating factor, symptoms and signs type of disc herniation, type of surgery, and outcome of post-surgery.
The incidence of lumbar disc herniation at the level of L1-2, L2-3 and L3-4 is 6.1% with declining frequency as the level ascends. The peak age incidence is 6th decade in both sex. Preoperative symptomes and signs are variabe. In sixteen cases, posterior approach was done. In these cases, twelve cases were performed microscopic partial hemilaminectomy, and four cases with spinal stenosis were performed total laminectomy and posterior screw fixation with bone fusion. In one case, lateral extracavitary approach was done. In results of operation, fourteen cases showed more than good grade(82%).
The age incidence of lumbar disc herniations at the level of L1-2, L2-3 and L3-4 older than lumbar disc herniations at the lower level of L4-5 and L5-S1. The signs and symptoms are variable. In our cases, most of the patients were performed posterior approach with microscopic partial hemilaminectomy except the patients combined spinal stenosis. One case was performed a lateral extracavitary approach because the risk of the cord and cauda equina injuries. The prognosis of upper lumbar disc herniations after treatment with only microscopic partial hemilaminectomy and diskectomy is comparable with the prognosis of lumbar disc herniations at the lower level.


Lumbar disc herniation; Posterior approach; Extracavitary approach; Microscopic partial hemilaminectomy
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