Unilateral Laminotomy For Decompression of Lumbar Stenosis is Effective and Safe: A Prospective Randomized Comparative Study
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Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy and safety of unilateral laminotomy for decompression of lumbar stenosis (LS). Although minimally invasive procedures are gaining increasing popularity in the treatment of spinal disorders, minimally invasive techniques are not standard in the surgical treatment of lumbar stenosis yet. Methods: Fifty-two consecutive patients with lumbar stenosis were randomized to two treatment groups (unilateral laminotomy for decompression-Group 1, decompressive laminectomy-Group 2). Maximum walking distance (MWD), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), spinal MRI and CT, and flexion-extension radiography were used to assess clinical outcome, adequacy of decompression and postoperative instability. Results: Excellent-good clinical outcome was obtained in 88% of patients in Group 1 and in 69% of patients in Group 2. Increase in MWD and dural sac area after surgery were adequate in both groups. Postoperative spinal instability occurred in five patients in Group 2, none in Group 1. There was no surgical complication in the groups. Conclusions: Unilateral laminotomy for decompression is an effective and safe technique for treatment of LS. This technique ensures adequate decompression and good clinical outcome. It does not cause spinal instability.