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Back to Normal: Surgery Improves Outcomes for Spine Patients
Date:6/1/2009

ed at the three most common back conditions leading to surgery, which are:

  • herniated disc;
  • spinal stenosis; and
  • spinal stenosis with degenerative spondylolisthesis.

To be included in the study, all patients had to meet certain criteria, including:

  • nerve pain in the legs
  • spinal stenosis revealed on cross-sectional imaging
  • degenerative spondylolisthesis evident in radiograph imaging
  • symptoms which lasted for at least 12 weeks
  • physician confirmation that the patient was a surgical candidate.

"Our results indicate that in these patients, there was a clear advantage for surgery," said Dr. Weinstein. "Patients felt relief faster and at two and four years, reported better function, less pain, and higher satisfaction than those who chose to go the non-surgical route."

Approximately 80 percent of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the most common cause of work-related disability, as well as the most expensive in terms of workers compensation and medical costs. Degenerative spondylolisthesis is one example of this kind of painful back condition.

"Degenerative spine disease can be a debilitating condition. When well informed, surgery is a good treatment choice," said Weinstein.

SPORT investigators will be releasing additional studies focusing on cost-effectiveness and other factors in coming months.

* Degenerative spondylolisthesis occurs when laxness in the spine causes one vertebra to slide forward and press against nerves, causing pain in the back and legs. The condition often occurs as a result of the aging process.

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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