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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1997 Sep 1;22(17):2030-4; discussion 2035.

Predictors of outcome in patients with chronic back pain and low-grade spondylolisthesis.

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1
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Retrospective case series.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the factors influencing symptom relief after uninstrumented posterolateral spinal fusion with or without decompression in adult patients with chronic back pain and previously asymptomatic low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

The role of previously asymptomatic low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis in chronic adult low back pain is unclear. Operative intervention in this setting is controversial.

METHODS:

Twenty-four consecutive adult patients with chronic low back pain and low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis first detected during routine work-up of new onset low back pain underwent spinal fusion with or without decompression. The influence of active worker's compensation or litigation claims, radicular pain, concomitant laminectomy, age, gender, fusion to L4, intervertebral disc bulge, and pseudarthrosis were investigated.

RESULTS:

All 13 patients involved in worker's compensation claims or pending litigation had fair or poor results. Nine of 11 patients without such issues had good or excellent results. Although the strong association of worker's compensation with poor results made it difficult to assess the importance of other risk factors, the data suggest that good results may be more likely in patients with radiculopathy who undergo laminectomy.

CONCLUSIONS:

This investigation, although limited by a number of factors including small sample size and retrospective, unblinded review, suggests that active worker's compensation and litigation issues are associated strongly with poor results of operative management for chronic low back pain in adult patients with low-grade spondylolisthesis.

PMID:
9306535
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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