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Computed Tomography After Laminectomy for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Patients' Pain Patterns, Waliking Capacity, and Subjective Disability Had No Correlation With Computed Tomography Findings

Herno, Arto, MD*; Airaksinen, Olavi, MD, PhD*; Saari, Tapani, MD

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Objectives The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between postoperative computed tomography findings and patients pain patterns, walking capacity, and subjective disability after laminectomy for lumbar spinal stenosis.

Summary of Background Data Recent improvements in computed tomography have enabled this tool to reveal changes in a patient after an operation, but there is a paucity of comparative examinations regarding the lumbar spinal canal of asymptomatic and symptomatic patients after iaminectomy for lumbar spinal stenosis.

Methods Ninety-two patients (42 women, and 50 men) with a mean age of 55 years were operated upon. Mean follow-up time was 3.5 years. Based on computed tomography findings of the operative area, three patient groups were formed:1) no stenosis, 2) moderate stenosis, 3) and severe stenosis. During treadmill testing, each patient's pain was evaluated by visual analogue scale. The patients were divide into four pain pattern groups:1) pain in the back and leg, 2) pain in the back only, 3) pain in the leg only, and 4) no pain in the back and leg. Subjective disebility was measured by the Oswestry disability score.

Results The structural changes revealed by computed tomography, and the patients' pain patterns walking capacity, and subjective disability did not correlate significantly with each other.

Conclusions Postoperative computed tomography has only limited value because asymptomatic and symptomatic patients yield similar findings after surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.

*Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

†Department of Clinical Radiology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.