Recurrence Rate of Lumbar Disc Herniation After Standard Discectomy and Microdiscectomy: A 5-Year Study

Mladen E. Ovcharov 1 , Iliya V. Valkov 1 , Milan N. Mladenovski 1 , and Nikolay V. Vasilev 1
  • 1 Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Medical University, Pleven, Bulgaria


Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) is the most common pathology in young people, as well as people of active age. Despite sophisticated and new minimally invasive surgical techniques and approaches, reoperations for recurrent lumbar disc herniation (rLDH) could not be avoided. LDH recurrence rates, reported in different studies, range from 5 to 25%. The purpose of this study was to estimate the recurrence rates of LDH after standard discectomy (SD) and microdiscectomy (MD), and compare them to those reported in the literature. Retrospectively, operative reports for the period 2012-2017 were reviewed on LDH surgeries performed at the Neurosurgery Clinic of Dr Georgi Stranski University Hospital in Pleven. Five hundred eighty-nine single-level lumbar discectomies were performed by one neurosurgeon. The diagnoses of recurrent disc herniation were based on the development of new symptoms and magnetic resonance/computed tomography (MRI/CT) images showing compatible lesions in the same lumbar level as the primary lumbar discectomies. The recurrence rate was determined by using chi-square tests and directional measures. SD was the most common procedure (498 patients) followed by MD (91 patients). The cumulative reoperation rate for rLDH was 7.5%. From a total number of reoperations, 26 were males (59.1%) and 18 were females (40.9%). Reoperation rates were 7.6% and 6.6% after SD and MD respectively. The recurrence rate was not significantly higher for SD. Our recurrence rate was 7.5%, which makes it comparable with the rates of 5-25% reported in the literature.

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