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Spinal Fusion Outcomes Good in Community Practices

Improvements can be easily assessed with the Modified Rowland Questionnaire of Disability

WEDNESDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) -- In non-academic settings where patients undergo lumbar spinal fusions, consistent functional improvements can be achieved and a simple and inexpensive cohort analysis can accurately measure reductions in disability, according to the results of a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Peter A. Robertson, M.D., of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and a colleague assessed 160 patients preoperatively and one year after surgery with the Modified Rowland 23-point Questionnaire of Disability.

The researchers found that Modified Roland Questionnaire scores improved by a median of 10 points. They also found that the improvements were statistically significant for major diagnoses such as degenerative spondylolisthesis, discogenic low back pain, and spondylolysis and isthmic spondylolisthesis.

"This study has demonstrated that sustainable ongoing cohort analysis of lumbar spinal fusion outcomes is possible in community-based practice, using a reliable and simply administered outcomes measure, without undue cost to either the patient or the practice, and without undue administrative burden," the authors conclude. "Practitioners can effectively monitor outcomes, correctly advise potential outcomes to patients, and modify feedback with effective assessment of changes undertaken. Such prospective observational cohort studies bridge the gap between randomized controlled trials and the retrospective limited studies of the past, and can demonstrate that effectiveness in community clinical practice is able to reproduce efficacy seen in highly controlled randomized controlled trials."

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