Influence of Fibrinolytic Factors on Scar Formation After Lumbar Discectomy
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STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. OBJECTIVES: To assess the amount of scar tissue by viewing magnetic resonance images, and to evaluate the correlation between the amount of scar tissue and clinical outcome, surgical technique, and fibrinolytic factors. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: The influence of fibrinolytic factors on magnetic resonance images has not been investigated previously. The relation between clinical outcome and findings on magnetic resonance imaging remains uncertain. METHODS: Magnetic resonance imaging at 0.5 Tesla was performed to produce sagittal and axial spin-echo T1-weighted images before and after contrast enhancement on 78 patients 7 years after traditional lumbar discectomy with partial or full laminectomy. Before surgery all patients had been tested for fibrinolytic factors. RESULTS: The overall clinical success rate of the surgery was 73%. No evidence of scar formation was seen in 19 patients, a small amount was seen in 36 patients, a moderate amount in 17 patients, and a large amount was observed in 6 patients. Ten patients who had undergone surgery at two disc levels and 18 who had been treated with full laminectomy exhibited more scar tissue than those patients who had undergone surgery on a single level (P = 0.033) and those who had undergone a partial laminectomy, respectively (P = 0.017). The amount of scar formation also was associated with a poor outcome (P = 0.017) and with low preoperative values of tissue plasminogen activator antigen (P = 0.003) and tissue plasminogen activity (P = 0.048) in samples collected after venous occlusion. The intensity of contrast enhancement, however, was not influenced by these or any other parameters. CONCLUSION: The amount of scar formation after lumbar discectomy seems to be related to the clinical outcome, the size of the surgical exposure, and some fibrinolytic factors.
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