AbstractOBJECTIVE:Clinical studies have revealed a significant association between the presence of extensive postlumbar discectomy peridural scar formation and the reoccurrence of low back and radicular pain. Low-dose perioperative radiation therapy has been shown to inhibit scar formation. Its effect on peridural fibrosis, however, has not been studied.METHODS:Thirty male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent L5 laminectomies. Ten rats each received a single fraction of 700-cGy external beam radiation to the lumbar spine 24 hours before surgery; 10 rats each received 700 cGy 24 hours after surgery. The remaining 10 rats served as a control group. All of the rats were killed 30 days after surgery. The spines were harvested, and axial histological sections through the laminectomy defect were evaluated. Each specimen was scored for extent, density, and arachnoidal involvement by fibrosis.RESULTS:There was a statistically significant difference between the treatment and control groups regarding the extent of fibrosis along the dura (P < 0.001), the density of fibroblasts (P < 0.005), involvement (P < 0.01). There was no difference in fibrosis reduction between the groups receiving pre- and postlaminectomy radiation.CONCLUSION:Low-dose external beam radiation therapy administered before or after laminectomy in a rat model significantly decreases the extent, density, and arachnoidal involvement of peridural fibrosis. This technique may improve the outcome of patients who undergo reoperations for recurrent radicular and/or low back pain after successful lumbar discectomy in whom there is a significant amount of peridural fibrosis.
Neurosurgery – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 1999
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