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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1996 Dec 28;140(52):2621-7.

[Consensus on diagnosis and treatment of the lumbosacral radicular syndrome. Dutch Society for Neurology].

[Article in Dutch]

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Afd. Neurologie, Academisch Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam.


A consensus development meeting concerning the treatment of lumbosacral radicular syndrome (LRS) by entrapment by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis was held on June 9th, 1995. It was observed that there is a lack of good evidence on many aspects of diagnosis and treatment of LRS. Agreement was reached on the thesis that the natural course of LRS is often benign. Diagnosis and treatment can usually be left to the primary care physician. Specialist consultation and ancillary investigations are only needed if an operation is indicated or in case of persistent diagnostic uncertainty. If imaging is needed MRI is preferred to CT or myelography. MRI is highly sensitive, but less specific, and may thus give false-positive results. Neurophysiologic testing may be informative in selected cases. Plain spinal X-rays are not useful in most cases. The traditional non-invasive treatments (such as bedrest, traction, physiotherapy, spinal manipulation) are not based upon convincing scientific evidence. Diagnostic imaging and invasive treatment should be considered in patients with a severe LRS that does not improve within a 4 to 8 week period. Both discectomy and chemonucleolysis are effective treatments. The principal indication is incapacitating radicular pain. There is no sound evidence that the prognosis of paresis is improved by operation. A cauda equina syndrome urgently needs surgical treatment. The efficacy of percutaneous interventions (nucleotomy, laser therapy) has not been proven. There are no strategies for the primary or secondary prevention of LRS that have demonstrated their efficacy. Psychological, social and financial factors probably contribute significantly to the occurrence of persisting symptoms after a LRS. Advice not to work after treatment for LRS may impede rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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