A recent study published in the January 15, 2015, issue of Spine reports that surgery and more conservative treatments like medications have similar results for spinal stenosis patients.
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. As the spinal canal narrows, it adds pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, and causes pain in the low back and legs.
The study looked at more than 650 spinal stenosis patients to compare the outcomes of surgical versus nonsurgical procedures. Some patients had been through surgery while some received a form of nonsurgical treatment like medication or physical therapy.
For the first few years of the study, the patients who had surgery showed better results.
However, after eight years, the study followed up with patients and discovered that there was not a huge difference between the two treatment groups.
While many patients and doctors believe surgery is more effective for spinal stenosis, study results showed it is not necessarily better at treating spine narrowing.
Out of the patients in the study who had surgery, 18 percent went through repeat surgery for reoccurring spinal stenosis over a term of eight years, according to Dr. Jon Lurie, the lead of the study and associate professor of medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Both surgery as well as conservative treatments are safe options when treating spinal stenosis, researchers said.
Long-term Outcomes of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Eight-Year Results of the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT). Spine.
http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Fulltext/2015/01150/Long_term_Outco.... Accessed January 20, 2015
Surgery Not Better for Spine Narrowing, Study Finds. HealthDay News.
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/01/19/surgery-not-bet.... Accessed January 20, 2015
Reviewed January 21, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith