Lumbar Decompression Surgery: No Difference in Time to Return to Work
Newswise — A study comparing short-term outcomes of minimally invasive (MI) lumbar decompression surgery to MI lumbar spine fusion surgery found no statistically significant difference in the amount of time patients needed to return to work. Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City also found that patients in both groups were able to discontinue narcotic pain medication within one week following surgery. Patients in the MI lumbar decompression group resumed driving four days sooner than those in the MI spine fusion group.
“Our study is the first of its kind to look at return to activities and discontinuation of narcotic pain medication after single-level lumbar decompression or single-level lumbar spine fusion performed with a minimally invasive technique,” said Dr. Qureshi, who is also the Patty and Jay Baker Endowed Chair in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at HSS. “In our study, all the patients in both groups were able to resume driving and return to work within three weeks of surgery. When you compare this time frame to that of standard open spinal fusion surgery, it’s really striking. Patients having a standard spinal fusion could take six months or longer for a full recovery.”
Lumbar decompression surgery is performed to relieve pain by removing a small section of bone or part of a herniated, or bulging, disc that is pressing on a nerve. Spinal fusion, a more extensive surgery, is performed to eliminate painful motion or to stabilize and strengthen the spine. Surgeons join two or more vertebrae together, sometimes using screws and connecting rods.
Over the past few years, minimally invasive spine surgery has gained in acceptance and popularity, Dr. Qureshi said. The technique uses smaller incisions than standard spine surgery and aims to minimize damage to nearby muscles and other tissues.
The study included patients who had elective one-level MI lumbar decompression or one-level MI lumbar spine fusion between April 2017 and July 2019 by a single orthopedic surgeon at HSS. Patients included in the analysis were driving or working before surgery, or were administered narcotic pain medication post-operatively.
Researchers found no statistically significant difference…
Read the full press release on Newswise.
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