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Lumbar Fusion Associated With Improved Quality of Life

Scores similar in patients who undergo fusion and those who have hip or knee replacement

THURSDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- After patients undergo lumbar fusion for degenerative lumbar stenosis with spondylolisthesis, health-related quality of life outcome measures approach those of the age-matched normal population, and are similar to improvements observed in patients after total hip and knee joint replacement surgery, according to a study in the April issue of The Spine Journal.

Sabarul A. Mokhtar, M.D., of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study of 100 patients who underwent lumbar fusion between December 1997 and January 2007.

The researchers found that the mean improvement in physical component summary (PCS)-12 scores after spine surgery was 11, which was the same as the improvement after total hip replacement surgery and higher than that after total knee replacement (8). In the three surgical groups, they found that the postoperative mean of the PCS-12 scores neared the population norm value of 44. They also found that, among the three groups, there was no statistical difference in the postoperative mental component summary-12 score, which neared the population norm value of 54.

"Spinal fusion surgery for degenerative lumbar stenosis with spondylolisthesis should be considered to be a significant medical treatment that is able to improve patient's quality of life," the authors conclude. "Although the evidence points to a return of fusion patients' health-related quality of life to levels approaching those of age-matched population norms and outcomes comparable with those of large joint replacement surgery, broader scale studies and longer follow-up trials will provide more definitive results."

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with Medtronic.

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