When is a discectomy indicated for treatment of foot drop?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: James W Pritchett, MD; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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If foot drop is secondary to lumbar disc herniation (a finding in 1.2-4% of patients with foot drop), discectomy should be considered. In the early phase of this condition, decreased blood flow due to compression is thought to lead to nerve-root ischemia. The nerve root is more susceptible to compression injury than the peripheral nerve is because the vascular network of the nerve root is less developed, with no regional arteriolar blood supply. Foot drop due to nerve-root injury may depend on the magnitude and duration of nerve-root compression.

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