Magnifying loupes versus microscope for microdiscectomy and microdecompression.
STUDY DESIGN: Consecutive case series of 51 patients in each group--single-surgeon experience. OBJECTIVE: Comparing magnifying loupes and microscopes for microdiscectomy and microdecompression. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Prospective peroperative data and retrospective outcome data. METHODS: All patients had unilateral single-level magnetic resonance imaging-proven radicular pain. All relevant preoperative, peroperative, and postoperative data were collected prospectively, including operating time, complications, and return to the preprolapse functional level. Retrospective patient satisfaction, employment level, workman's compensation claim status, smoking status, pain, and functional outcome scores were collected through a telephonic interview. RESULTS: The microscope group was significantly (P < 0.05) better than the loupes group with respect to patient outcome and earlier return of the preprolapse functional level. Patient satisfaction scores, Visual Analogue Scores for pain, and rate of complications were also better in the microscope group but were not statistically significant at P < 0.05. CONCLUSIONS: Microscopes are better than loupes as they provide a much better visualization, are more comfortable for the surgeon, and are a much better teaching tool.