Orthop Clin North Am 2007 Jul;38(3):363-72; abstract vi
Arizona Institute for Minimally Invasive Spine Care, Phoenix, AZ 85020, USA.
Traditionally, minimally invasive techniques for surgical discectomy have been defined as smaller incisions, tubular retractors, microscopically assisted tissue dissection, and conservative removal of only extruded or sequestered nucleus pulposus with preservation of the annulus. The first truly minimally invasive technique was chymopapain dissolution of the nucleus pulposus. Other percutaneous techniques followed; however, none were as efficacious as the gold standard of microlumbar discectomy until endoscopically visualized methods evolved to allow visualized mechanical discectomy through the foramen. In experienced hands, such a technique is as effective as microlumbar discectomy and results in less surgical morbidity for herniations that are appropriate for this minimally invasive endoscopic surgical portal that completely avoids traumatizing the normal anatomy of the dorsal musculature and ligamentous structures.