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Full endoscopic treatment of dural tears in lumbar spine surgery



An incidental durotomy is a common complication of spinal surgery. Its treatment remains challenging, especially in endoscopic procedures. The objective of this study is to describe a technique for endoscopic dural closure which is safe and effective.


From a prospective database all endoscopic spinal procedures with incidental durotomy were identified. Retrospectively, video recordings were analysed with a special reference to the applied technique of dural closure. Additionally 1, 6 and 12 week follow-up examinations were evaluated for clinical outcome and associated complications.


Out of 212 consecutive patients, an intraoperative dural tear was observed in nine patients (4.2%). A dural tear occurred in 1.1% of cases of lumbar disc herniation, in 7.9% of cases with lumbar spinal stenosis, in 37.5% of cases with a synovial cyst. An autologous muscle sample was harvested within the operative field and grafted at the dural defect in several layers. Fixation of the transplantation and watertight closure were achieved by the application of fibrin sealant with gelfoam. The mean time for dural closure was 209 s (range 47–420 s). Postoperatively no CSF fistula, no new deficits nor worsening of a pre-existing neurological deficit occurred. None of the patients had problems with wound healing, or discomfort which could be related to the CSF leak.


Dural closure with an autologous muscle graft in combination with fibrin sealant patch is a fast, safe and alternative technique for the management of dural tear in microendoscopic surgery.

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Correspondence to Joachim M. Oertel.

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J. Oertel and B. Burkhardt have no conflict of interest.




J. Oertel is a consultant to the Karl Storz Company.

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Oertel, J.M., Burkhardt, B.W. Full endoscopic treatment of dural tears in lumbar spine surgery. Eur Spine J 26, 2496–2503 (2017).

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  • Dural tear
  • Dural closure
  • Endoscopy
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Spinal surgery