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Life Quality After Instrumented Lumbar Fusion in the Elderly

Becker, Philipp MD; Bretschneider, Wolfgang MD; Tuschel, Alexander MD; Ogon, Michael MD

doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181c62294
Clinical Case Series

Study Design. Retrospective cohort study.

Objective. To review the clinical outcome on elderly patients after spinal instrumented fusion.

Summary of Background Data. Although lumbar fusion in elderly patients has increased rapidly, there are only few and conflicting results regarding the clinical outcome.

Methods. This retrospective review evaluated 195 patients aged 70 to 89 who underwent lumbar spinal fusion. All 195 patients had follow-ups after 6 weeks, 1 year, and 2 years, including clinical evaluation as well as visual analog scale score, Oswestry Disability Index, and Short Form health survey.

Results. Elderly patients benefit from spinal fusion. Back and leg pains were initially reduced by >50%, with a slight deterioration over a 2-year period. Pain medication was reduced in 69% of the patients, and 89.7% of the patients were satisfied.

Conclusion. Age itself cannot be considered a contraindication.

A total of 195 patients aged 70 to 89 who underwent spinal instrumented fusion were reviewed. Pain was reduced >50% with only slight deterioration over the following 2 years. Likewise, SF-36 and ODI improved, and there was only slight deterioration over the following years. Pain medication was reduced significantly. The complication rate was comparable with younger patients. Age cannot be considered as contraindication for instrumented fusion.

From the Orthopaedic Hospital Speising, Spine Center, Vienna, Austria.

Acknowledgment date: March 12, 2009. Revision date: September 6, 2009. Acceptance date: September 11, 2009.

The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).

No funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Philipp Becker, MD, Orthopaedic Hospital Speising, Spine Center, Speisingerstrasse 109, 1130 Vienna, Austria; E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.