Background: Advances in minimally invasive surgery have expanded the indications for interlaminar full-endoscopic discectomy. Although the clinical outcomes for this approach may be equivalent to those of conventional microscopic discectomy, the supporting evidence is still based on small, single-center, prospective, and retrospective studies. Therefore, a multicenter randomized controlled trial is warranted. Methods: This will be a prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy and safety of interlaminar full-endoscopic discectomy to those of conventional microscopic discectomy. The trial will enroll 100 participants with a lumbar disc herniation, 50 in each group. The primary outcome will be the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score at 12 months post-surgery. Secondary outcomes will be back and leg pain (visual analog scale); the ODI; the EuroQol-5-dimension score; patient satisfaction; and walking distance/time and time to return to daily activities post-surgery. Surgical outcomes will include postoperative drainage, operative time, duration of hospital stay, postoperative creatine kinase level as an indicator of muscle injury, and postoperative scarring. Postoperative magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and simple radiography will be performed to evaluate radiographic outcomes between the two surgical approaches. Surgery-related complications and adverse effects will be evaluated as safety outcomes. A single assessor at each participating hospital, blinded to group allocation, will assess the enrolled participants at baseline, at 2 weeks, and at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Discussion: This trial is designed to determine whether interlaminar full-endoscopic discectomy is clinically comparable to microscopic discectomy to treat lumbar disc herniations. All efforts will be made to reduce bias, including adequate sample size, blinded analyses, and multicenter prospective registration. The outcomes will inform practice, providing the evidence needed for using interlaminar full-endoscopic over microscopic discectomy by confirming the potential of this technique to improve patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. Trial registration: Clinical Research Information Service; cris.nih.go.kr. (KCT0006277); protocol version (v1, June 8, 2021).
- Conventional microscopic discectomy
- Interlaminar full-endoscopic discectomy
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Minimally invasive surgery
- Study protocol