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J Korean Soc Spine Surg. 1998 May;5(1):109-115. Korean. Original Article.
Lee HM , Kim NH , Kang YH , Kim BY .

STUDY DESIGN: This study is a retrospective evaluation of the high lumbar disc herniations. OBJECTIVE: The purposes of this study is to observe the clinical and radiological findings and out-comes of the high lumbar disc herniations, thus providing a guideline for making diagnosis and for proper treatment modality. SUMMARY OF LITERATURE REVIEW: High lumbar disc herniations at the L1 -2, L2-3 and L3-4 levels represent less than 5% of all disc herniations. The location of pain was highly complected. The represented symptoms and signs such as motor, sensory and reflex changes were variable and potentially misleading in suggesting a level of the disc herniation. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Thirty-one patients with high lumbar disc herniations were retrospectively evaluated. Seventeen patients were treated conservatively and fourteen patients underwent surgery. Review of results was undertaken by an independent observer using a proven outcome assessment measure. RESULTS: The incidence of high lumbar disc herniation is 4.7%(L1-2: 13%, L2-3: 29%, L3-4: 58%) with declining frequency as the level ascends. The peak age incidence is 6th decade in male and 5th decade in female. The positive rate of femoral nerve stretching test(74%) is higher than that of straight leg raising test(51%). In fourteen operative cases, the positive rate of straight leg raising test is 86%. The accuracy of MRI findings in predicting the type of herniated disc is 93%. In results of operation thirteen cases showed more than fair grade(93%). CONCLUSION: The age incidence of the high lumbar disc herniation is older than that of the lower lumbar disc herniation. The femoral nerve stretching test is more useful than straight leg raising test in making diagnosis of high lumbar disc herniations. The prognosis after treatment is comparable with high lumbar disc herniations.

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