Background: From the 1990s, there has been growth in the literature demonstrating the feasibility of minimally invasive approaches for treating variety lumbar spinal disorders. There is still much work to be done in overcoming the technical challenges and explicate relative advantages of endoscopic techniques in lumbar spine surgery. In this comprehensive literature review, we discuss the history, indications, contraindications, surgical techniques, learning curves, technical tips, adverse events, and examine peer-reviewed studies addressing uniportal endoscopic interlaminar decompression in lumbar spinal surgery. Methods: This literature review was conducted with keywords “endoscopic,” “minimally invasive,” “uniportal endoscopic decompression,” “interlaminar decompression,” and “lumbar spinal surgery” using PubMed, Embase, ClinicalKey, and Google Scholar. Results: Review of 423 patients who underwent uniportal endoscopic interlaminar lumbar decompression showed satisfying results with 82% of patients no longer having leg pain, and 13% of patients having only occasional pain, with no significant operation-related deterioration in leg or back pain. To compare the outcomes between endoscopic and microscopic technique, a comparative review of 192 lumbar lateral recess stenosis patients demonstrated the uniportal endoscopic group had 29% shorter operation duration, 1.2% fewer perioperative complications, and significantly reduced postoperative pain (visual analog scale) over 5 days, and reduced use of pain medications. Multiple retrospective studies echoed the outcomes of endoscopic decompression surgery, showed shorter hospitalization time, lower mean dural expansion, lower increment of horizontal displacement measured, and less elevated levels of postoperative serum CPK (creatine phosphokinase) and CRP (c-reactive protein). Lastly, a systematic review and meta-analysis that enrolled 994 patients found that patients who received the full-endoscopic decompression technique showed statistically lower levels of back pain and leg pain and a 40% lower chance of having complications compared with those receiving microscopic decompression in lumbar stenosis. Conclusions: Based on our literature review, there are multiple positive outcomes with endoscopic interlaminar lumbar decompression, which reduces operation duration, perioperative complications, and better postoperative outcomes. However, the technical challenge highlights the importance of further training and innovation in this rapidly evolving field.
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