Background: Full-endoscopic lumbar discectomy (FELD) is an alternative to posterior open surgery to treat a high-grade migrated herniated disc. However, because of the complexity of the surgery, success is dependent on the surgeon’s skill. Therefore, patients are frequently treated using open discectomy. Anatomical constraints and technical difficulties can lead to the incomplete removal of high-grade migrated discs. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients who had undergone FELD performed by a single surgeon between January 2010 and January 2014 from a prospective spine registry in an institute. Perioperative records and data of the Oswestry Disability Index, visual analog scale scores (preoperatively and 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years after the operation), and MacNab criteria were collected. Results: Of 58 patients with a follow-up duration of > 5 years, (41 and 17 patients had undergone transforaminal endoscopic lumbar discectomy [TELD] and interlaminar endoscopic lumbar discectomy [IELD], respectively), the satisfaction rate was 87.8% (five unsatisfactory cases) for TELD and 100% for IELD. The overall percentage of patients with good to excellent results according to modified MacNab criteria was 91.3% (53/58 patients). Two patients had residual discs. Two patients needed an open discectomy due to recurrent disc herniation. One IELD patient received spinal fusion surgery due to segmental instability after 5 years. Conclusion: FELD has a high success rate for the management of high-grade migrated herniated discs. In patients with high-grade disc migration from L1 to L5, TELD is effective and safe. However, for L4–L5 and L5–S1 high-grade upward and downward disc migration, IELD is the favorable option and provides high patient satisfaction.
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