Surgical Versus Non-Operative Treatment For Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Review of Weinstein JN, et al.: Sugrical versus nonoperative treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis: four year results of the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial. Spine 35(14):1329-1338, 2010.


This important study comes from the national Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial, otherwise known as SPORT. It is the most comprehensive study on the efficacy of lumbar laminectomy in the treatment of symptomatic spinal stenosis. Lumbar laminectomy is done to treat pinched nerves and spinal stenosis. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include back pain, leg pain, weakness, numbness, tingling, balance trouble, sciatica, and trouble with walking and standing.

The study is a prospective review of 654 patients with symptomatic spinal stenosis. Patients were followed for 4 years after treatment. Some underwent lumbar laminectomy, while others were treated without surgery. The study found that patients undergoing surgical lumbar laminectomy had significantly improved clinical outcomes for the entire time of the follow-up, which was 4 years. Outcome measures included pain, physical function, ODI, patient satisfaction, bothersomeness of symptoms, and self-rated progress.

The SPORT studies are very important as the best designed long term studies evaluating the results of spinal surgery. This study demonstrated the safely and efficacy of lumbar laminectomy in the treatment of lumbar stensosis. At the Texas Spine and Neurosurgery Center, your neurosurgeons specialize in spinal surgery, including lumbar spinal laminectomy. We also specialize in minimally invasive lumbar laminectomy. This technique results in less tissue destruction, less pain, a smaller incision, and quicker recovery than traditional, open spinal surgery. We perform more minimally invasive spine surgeries than any other practice in the entire region. If you are seeking a surgeon who is an expert in spinal surgery, including minimally invasive spinal surgery, call 281-313-0031 now and make an appointment with one of our surgeons.


By Rajesh K. Bindal, M.D.