Sixty-seven of seventy-three patients who had had multiple operations on the back with an initial diagnosis of lumbar-disc disease were reevaluated as to relief of pain two and four years after the most recent operation. More than 80 per cent of the patients had gained enough relief to deem the procedure worth while. A diagnosis of fibrosis, preoperatively or intraoperatively, portended a poor result, while the opposite was true with diagnoses of mechanical compression (disc fragment or stenosis) and instability (pseudarthrosis after fusion or spondylolisthesis). The presence of a pain-free interval lasting one year from the date of the previous operation correlated highly with the presence of a surgically remediable lesion.
Copyright 1979 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated