Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Background/aim: Upper lumbar disc herniation (LDH), generally involving L1?L2 and L2?L3 level herniation, is less common than lower LDH and, in this retrospective study, the clinical and radiological findings of patients who suffered from upper LDH and were operated on due to this pathology were reviewed. Materials and methods: Data regarding neurological and radiological findings of patients operated on between January 2005 and December 2013 were retrospectively collected. During this period, 3494 patients had surgery for LDH, and 129 of these patients had disc herniation at the upper levels. Seventy-eight patients with proper follow-up and data were included in the study. Results: There were 39 males and 39 females enrolled in the study. Twenty-one patients (0.6%) were operated on due to L1?L2 disc herniation and 45 (1.2%) had L2?L3 disc herniation. Twelve (0.3%) patients had disc pathologies at both levels. The mean age of the population was 59.9 years old, and this was significantly higher than lower LDH averages previously described in the literature (42 years old). Cauda equina signs and urinary disturbances were frequently seen, in addition to symptoms related to back and leg pain, neurologic claudication, and weakness in lower extremities. Conclusion: Upper LDHs requiring surgical therapy are extremely rare, more so than other LDHs. They are more frequent among older patients and are often present along with signs of cauda equina and urinary dysfunction.


Upper lumbar disc herniation, microdiscectomy, cauda equina syndrome, lumbar radiculopathy

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