Article Abstract

Perioperative care for lumbar microdiscectomy: a survey of Australasian neurosurgeons

Authors: Christopher D. Daly, Kai Zheong Lim, Peter Ghosh, Tony Goldschlager


Background: Lumbar microdiscectomy is the most commonly performed spine surgery procedure. Over time it has evolved to a minimally invasive procedure. Traditionally patients were advised to restrict activity following lumbar spine surgery. However, post-operative instructions are heterogeneous. The purpose of this report is to assess, by survey, the perioperative care practices of Australasian neurosurgeons in the minimally invasive era.
Methods: A survey was conducted by email invitation sent to all full members of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia (NSA). This consisted of 11 multi-choice questions relating to operative indications, technique, and post-operative instructions for lumbar microdiscectomy answered by an electronically distributed anonymized online survey.
Results: The survey was sent to all Australasian Neurosurgeons. In total, 68 complete responses were received (28.9%). Most surgeons reported they would consider a period of either 4 to 8 weeks (42.7%) or 8 to 12 weeks (32.4%) as the minimum duration of radicular pain adequate to offer surgery. Unilateral muscle dissection with unilateral discectomy was practiced by 76.5%. Operative microscopy was the most commonly employed method of magnification (76.5%). The majority (55.9%) always refer patients to undergo inpatient physiotherapy. Sitting restrictions were advised by 38.3%. Lifting restrictions were advised by 83.8%.
Conclusions: Australasian neurosurgical lumbar microdiscectomy perioperative care practices are generally consistent with international practices and demonstrate a similar degree of heterogeneity. Recommendation of post-operative activity restrictions by Australasian neurosurgeons is still common. This suggests a role for the investigation of the necessity of such restrictions in the era of minimally invasive spine surgery.

Article Options

Download Citation