A prospective observational study of patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis.
To determine whether the long-term outcomes differ as a function of age and gender.
Summary of Background Data.
The long-term results of surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis are not well understood, and the patient characteristics that predispose patients to worse outcomes are unknown.
Seventy patients who underwent decompressive laminotomy with or without arthrodesis for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis were prospectively studied at standard intervals after surgery with respect to symptom severity rated on a visual analog scale (VAS).
The VAS scores for younger patients improved steadily for 3 or 6 months, after which the improvement was maintained until 60 months. The VAS scores for older patients showed a similar time course until 36 months, after which the VAS scores were worse compared with those for younger patients. The VAS scores for females were worse than those for males, in three symptoms queried, at one or more of the evaluation time points.
In patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis, older age predicts a greater risk of late recurrence of symptoms, and women have higher VAS scores than men after surgery.