Transforaminal endoscopic discectomy to relieve sciatica and delay fusion in a 31-year-old man with pars defects and low-grade spondylolisthesis

Karthik Madhavan, Lee Onn Chieng, Christoph P. Hofstetter, Michael Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Isthmic spondylolisthesis due to pars defects resulting from trauma or spondylolysis is not uncommon. Symptomatic patients with such pars defects are traditionally treated with a variety of fusion surgeries. The authors present a unique case in which such a patient was successfully treated with endoscopic discectomy without iatrogenic destabilization. A 31-year-old man presented with a history of left radicular leg pain along the distribution of the sciatic nerve. He had a disc herniation at L5/S1 and bilateral pars defects with a Grade I spondylolisthesis. Dynamic radiographic studies did not show significant movement of L-5 over S-1. The patient did not desire to have a fusion. After induction of local anesthesia, the patient underwent an awake transforaminal endoscopic discectomy via the extraforaminal approach, with decompression of the L-5 and S-1 nerve roots. His preoperative pain resolved immediately, and he was discharged home the same day. His preoperative Oswestry Disability Index score was 74, and postoperatively it was noted to be 8. At 2-year follow-up he continued to be symptom free, and no radiographic progression of the listhesis was noted. In this case preservation of stabilizing structures, including the supraspinous and interspinous ligaments and the facet capsule, may have reduced the likelihood of iatrogenic instability while at the same time achieving symptom control. This may be a reasonable option for select patient symptoms confined to lumbosacral radiculopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Endoscopic spine surgery
  • Pars defect
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Transforaminal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Transforaminal endoscopic discectomy to relieve sciatica and delay fusion in a 31-year-old man with pars defects and low-grade spondylolisthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this