Study finds spine surgery yields greater benefits over nonsurgical treatments

Feb 24, 2008

A research study by orthopedic spine, back and neck surgeon at Rush University Medical Center Dr. Howard An and colleagues found that patients who underwent surgery for spinal stenosis showed significantly more improvement in all primary outcomes than did patients who were treated nonsurgically. The study findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, February 21.

Spinal stenosis involves a narrowing of a passage in the spine through which nerves pass, and it can result in a debilitating pain in the lower back, hips and legs. The surgical solution involves enlarging the opening to relieve the pressure on the nerves, in an operation called a laminectomy, one of the most common operations performed in the U.S.

The study results come from the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health that involved about 654 patients at 13 treatment centers across the country. Rush was the only medical center in Illinois involved in the study.

The study followed 654 surgical candidate patients with a history of at least 12 weeks of symptoms and spinal stenosis, of whom 398 ultimately received decompressive surgery. After two years, 63 percent of those who had surgery said they had a major improvement in their condition, compared with 29 percent among those who got nonsurgical treatment.

In terms of self-reported pain and function, both groups improved over the two-year period, though the final scores for patient who had surgery were in the 60-point range, while scores for those who stuck with nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, were in the low 40s.

The study separated patients who stuck with their random assignment to surgery or nonsurgery options. The randomized patients’ results were very similar to those who selected one course or the other.

Source: Rush University

Explore further: A new way to diagnose malaria, using magnetic fields

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection

8 hours ago

Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the Dead Sea.

Alibaba IPO comes with unusual structure

8 hours ago

Foreigners who want to buy Alibaba Group shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant's U.S. public offering will need to get comfortable with an unusual business structure.

Recommended for you

Gamers helping in Ebola research

5 hours ago

Months before the recent Ebola outbreak erupted in Western Africa, killing more than a thousand people, scientists at the University of Washington's Institute for Protein Design were looking for a way to stop the deadly virus.

Carcinogenic role of a protein in liver decoded

7 hours ago

The human protein EGFR controls cell growth. It has mutated in case of many cancer cells or exists in excessive numbers. For this reason it serves as a point of attack for target-oriented therapies. A study ...

A new way to diagnose malaria, using magnetic fields

Aug 31, 2014

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye, and ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Drogo
not rated yet Feb 24, 2008
I'm interested to know if the study differentiated between lateral or central stenosis.