Does surgery for lumbar disc herniation return elite athletes to play? 4 key notes


Spine recently published an article examining the return to play rate of elite athletes after microdiscectomy.

The study authors researched Medline, Embase and Cochrane Reviews to pool results. There were 547 articles identified and 14 that were relevant to the study based on abstract review. Nine studies provided data for 558 patients undergoing a lumbar microdiscectomy.


The researchers found:


1. The clinical success rate was statistically significant at 83.5 percent.


2. There was a minimal heterogeity Q value of 7.41 and I2 value of 5.53.


3. The return-to-play odds with symptomatic lumbar disc herniation was 1.13, and there wasn't a statistical difference between return-to-play for the operative and non-operative groups compared in four studies.


4. The more aggressive approach to symptomatic lumbar herniated nucleus pulposus for elite athletes with earlier surgical intervention "may be employed judiciously if timing necessitates for the athlete's benefit," concluded the study authors.


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