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Lysis of adhesions and epidural injection of steroid/local anaesthetic during epiduroscopy potentially alleviate low back and leg pain in elderly patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.

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Lysis of adhesions and epidural injection of steroid/local anaesthetic during epiduroscopy potentially alleviate low back and leg pain in elderly patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.

Br J Anaesth. 2004 Aug;93(2):181-7

Authors: Igarashi T, Hirabayashi Y, Seo N, Saitoh K, Fukuda H, Suzuki H

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Lumbar spinal stenosis causes various forms of back or leg pain, and is recognized with increasing frequency in elderly patients whose physical status is not always suitable for surgery. Epiduroscopy, a new, minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic technique, may be useful for pain relief in such patients. We investigated the epiduroscopic findings and immediate and long-term changes in back and leg pain after epiduroscopy in elderly patients with spinal stenosis.
METHODS: Patients with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis (n=58, median age 71 yr) were divided into two groups based on presenting symptoms: a monosegmental group (n=34) and a multisegmental group (n=24). Each patient underwent epiduroscopy, and the findings were evaluated using visual analogue scales for low back and leg symptoms. Epiduroscopy included breaking down adhesions in the epidural space by injections of saline, and injection of steroids/local anaesthetic.
RESULTS: Epiduroscopy showed that the amount of fatty tissue and the degree of vascularity were greater in the monosegmental group than in the multisegmental group. Relief of low back pain was observed up to 12 months after epiduroscopy in both groups. Relief of leg pain was evident up to 12 months after epiduroscopy in the monosegmental group, and up to 3 months after epiduroscopy in the multisegmental group. None of the patients showed deterioration of motor or sensory deficits during follow-up. One patient was excluded from analysis because of accidental dural puncture during the procedure.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings of epiduroscopy corresponded to the symptoms. Epiduroscopy may reduce low back and leg pain in elderly patients with degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis, particularly those with radiculopathy.

PMID: 15194631 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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