Adolescent lumbar disc herniation: Impact, diagnosis, and treatment
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BACKGROUND: Symptomatic lumbar intervertebral disc herniation (LDH) is rare in children and adolescents. To date, the treatments available for child and adolescent LDH, and the effect of each treatment, have not been fully reviewed. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this retrospective study is to report the etiology, familial history, presenting symptoms, level of herniation, duration of symptoms, radiological findings, as well as treatment methods and outcome. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed medical records of all patients with inclusion criteria of being younger than 20 years. (10-19 years); we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm lumbar disc herniations between 2013 and 2016. All patients were followed up for a minimum of 12 months and discharged if they remained almost asymptomatic for 6 months. All patients were treated conservatively and 6 patients they have progressive neurological deficit and persistent back pain, were treated with surgical procedures. The Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), as well as the Oswestry Disability Scale (ODS) and the modified Ashworth Scale (AS) were used to analyze physical examination findings both before and after treatment. To detect lumbar disc degeneration, we used the modified Pfirrmann grading system with MRI. All statistical analyses were performed with commercially available SPSS 15.0 software, while p <= 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: A total of 70 cases with lumbar disc herniation have been treated. The mean age was 17.14 +/- 2.15 years (range 9-19 years). The male to female ratio was 35: 35. The mean duration of symptoms was 7.21 +/- 1.69 months. The follow-up duration was 17.31 +/- 4.17 months. The most common level was L4-5 in 38 (54%) patients and the second was L5-S1 in 24 (34%) patients. Subligamentous protruded discs were found in 42 (60%), extruded in 6 (9%), and disc bulge with intact annulus in 22 (31%) cases. VAS before treatment was 6.05 +/- 0.83, while at 6 months after treatment it was 3.1 +/- 0.6. However, at the first-year examination, VAS was 2.17 +/- 0.76. The ODS was indexed before treatment 42.03 +/- 3.75, at 6 months being 25.01 +/- 2.75 and at the first year 9.92 +/- 2.67. VAS and the OSD were both significantly decreased after treatment (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Either conservative or surgical methods can be performed comfortably for adolescent lumbar disc herniations. We proposed surgical treatment for patients with incapacitating persistent low back pain or radicular pain that lasted more than 6 weeks, despite rest and medication. We also pursued the development of neurological deficits, including recurrent pain that disturbed routine life activities.