The Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine recently published updated guidelines for the performance of fusion procedures for degenerative disease of the lumbar spine. These were developed by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves and replace the first set of guidelines published in the same journal in 2005.
Spinal fusion procedures are an established and successful therapy for patients with pain and/or neurological deficits due to degenerative diseases of the lumbar spine. In issuing the updated guidelines, the authors sought to provide graded recommendations, a rationale for the procedure, the search criteria used to identify relevant literature, and a section on the scientific foundations for the recommendation. The authors further reiterate that the guidelines are not intended to provide rigid treatment algorithms but rather to offer a foundation for the development of appropriately individualized treatment plans, as well as to identify current limitations of the literature and stimulate further investigational research. More news about the updated guidelines, with link to the journal article, may be read here.