In an ongoing quest to advance evidence-based spine surgery, the authors of this study evaluated a nationally-representative sample of patients undergoing posterior lumbar fusion (PLF). They analyzed the data on over 66,000 patients who had spinal fusion for acquired spondylolisthesis. Complication rates while in the hospital were reported and described.
In this study, the use of a brace for thoracolumbar burst fractures is investigated. Do patients really need a back brace for this condition? If they do, what kind of brace works best? How long should they wear it? The first step in answering questions like these is to find out if patients wearing the brace have any better results than those who don't wear a brace.
Medical doctors rely on evidence from scientific studies to help guide their treatment decisions. Without evidence, they fall back on consensus-based best practice. That means they do what they have seen works well and what others have reported based on surveys and questionnaires. Sometimes there's a gap between what the evidence shows and what the current practice is. As this study shows, that's what may be happening for patients undergoing spinal surgery who have osteoporosis.
Despite the fact that spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) affects a large number of people over age 60, there are still many things about this condition we don't know. For example, when does narrowing of the spinal canal actually become stenosis? Is it when the spinal canal opening is less than 15 mm? 12 mm? 10 mm? Are there certain groups of people more likely to develop stenosis than others? How many people really have this condition anyway?
When it comes to the treatment of mechanical low back pain, physicians and physical therapists have taken a different approach in the last few years. Research has shown that certain subgroups of patients seem to do better with one form of treatment over another. So, efforts are being made to develop a classification system that will help identify which subgroup a patient should be placed in for the best results.