6 things to know about lumbar spine microdiscectomy outcomes & pain


Older age, lower educational attainment and urban residency were associated with greater pain after lumbar microdiscectomy, according to a study in the European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology.

Researchers included 100 patients in the study who underwent lumbar microdiscectomy by one spine surgeon. The study authors used validated questionnaires preoperatively and up to five years postoperatively.  

Here are six things to know:

1. Every patient had significantly improved clinical outcomes in the first month postoperatively, which lasted up to one year post-discectomy. After that, improvement was statistically significant but not clinically important.

2. Female patients reported more pain preoperatively and one month postoperatively.

3. Older patients had greater pain, disability and worse quality of life between one and five years postoperatively.

4. While obesity was associated with lower levels of preoperative pain, obese patients had worse 36-Item Short Form Health Survey and Oswestry Disability Index scores after the sixth month postoperatively.

5. Higher alcohol consumption was correlated with lower levels of preoperative pain.

6. Patients with lower educational attainment presented the worst scores in every questionnaire. Patients with stenuous physical occupations had the worst preoperative ODI scores.

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