Lumbar fusions have 3X greater chance of positive outcomes with evidence-based guidelines, study finds

Alan Condon -   Print  |

A Thomas Jefferson University study published in Neurosurgery found that lumbar spinal fusions were three times more likely to achieve better outcomes when evidence-based guidelines were followed, EurekAlert reports.

Five things to know:

1. Researchers at the Philadelphia-based university examined 325 lumbar fusion cases on whether they conformed to North American Spine Society lumbar fusion guidelines.

2. NASS guidelines outline nine criteria including trauma, spinal deformity, types of axial back pain, tumor or infection. However, there is a debate as to when patients fit the criteria.

3. Researchers used the Oswestry Disability Index to examine patient-reported outcomes measures six months after surgery. The ODI looked at patient-centric outcomes such as pain, walking, lifting, sleep, social life and sex life.

4. Patients may not have significant quality-of-life improvements and could have increased pain when surgeons operate outside of what guidelines recommend, the study found.

5. "Alignment with clinical guidelines was the best predictor of positive outcomes over all other factors we evaluated," said James Harrop, MD, chief of spine and peripheral nerve surgery at Jefferson Health's Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience.

Click here for more details on this study.

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