Korean J Spine.  2011 Jun;8(2):113-117. 10.14245/kjs.2011.8.2.113.

Correlation between the Symptomatic Lumbar Synovial Cyst and Facet Degeneration: Retrospective Study of 13 Surgical Cases

  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital The Catholic University, Seoul, Korea. nsdoc35@catholic.ac.kr


OBJECTIVE: This retrospective study of 13 patients who underwent surgical treatment for symptomatic lumbar synovial cyst was performed to evaluate the clinical findings and pathogenesis of lumbar synovial cyst.
The clinical characteristics of the patients were investigated by reviewing the hospital records, preoperative radiological images, and operation records. By observing preoperative CT scans Facet degeneration grade at the lesion and opposite side of pathologic level and adjacent levels were assessed and compared.
There were 5 males and 8 females (average 65.8 year-old). Six patients presented with low back pain and leg pain, and 7 patients presented only leg pain. Most common pathologic level was L4-5. All patients underwent the cyst resection with/without decompressive laminectomy or discectomy. The additional instrumentation was not performed in all patients. No complications or recurrence was observed during average 34.5 months follow-up. There was no significant difference of facet degeneration grade between the lesion side of pathologic level and opposite side of same level or lower adjacent level.
In the present study, all patients showed clinical improvement by the simple surgery without any instrumentation. No significant correlation between the occurrence of synovial cyst and the degeneration grade of facet joint was revealed.


Synovial cyst; Intraspinal; Lumbar; Facet degeneration
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