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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1991 Jul;73(6):809-16.

The outcome of decompressive laminectomy for degenerative lumbar stenosis.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital, Robert B. Brigham Multipurpose Arthritis Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.


The outcome of laminectomy for the relief of symptoms resulting from degenerative lumbar stenosis is not well established. Eighty-eight consecutive patients who had had a laminectomy for degenerative lumbar stenosis between 1983 and 1986 were studied. Eight of the patients had had a concomitant arthrodesis. The follow-up evaluation included a review of charts and standardized questionnaires that were completed by the patients. One year postoperatively, five patients (6 per cent) had had a second operation and five still had severe pain. By the time of the latest follow-up, in 1989, fifteen (17 per cent) of the original eighty-eight patients had had a repeat operation because of instability or stenosis; twenty-one (30 per cent) of the seventy patients who were evaluated by questionnaire in 1989 had severe pain. The factors found to be associated with a poor long-term outcome, defined as severe pain or the need for a repeat operation, or both, included co-existing illnesses (such as osteoarthrosis, cardiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or chronic pulmonary disease) (p = 0.004), the duration of follow-up (p = 0.01), and an initial laminectomy involving a single interspace (p = 0.04). We concluded that the long-term outcome of decompressive laminectomy is less favorable than has been previously reported, and that co-morbidity and a single-interspace laminectomy are risk factors for a poor outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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