Multiple Surgery Risks Following Lumbar Discectomy
More and more people are having lumbar discectomy worldwide. This surgery is used to remove damaged disc tissue from the low back. However, there is only limited evidence of the surgery's effectiveness in treating low back problems. Some research even suggests that it has poor results.
These authors did a large-scale review of medical records in Finland to make some sense of the controversy surrounding this procedure. They looked especially at the risk of needing further back surgeries afterward. Over 10 years, more than 35,000 patients had a lumbar discectomy. The researchers noted several interesting facts about the patients who needed further surgery.
The article highlights the problems in understanding when lumbar discectomy might be a good option. They suggest that ongoing problems afterward could mean that the back condition is especially bad, that the surgical technique is not good, or that doctors aren't always doing a good job of sorting out which patients are best suited for discectomy. They recommend more research to help understand why this surgery has generally poor outcomes.
Heikki Österman, MD, et al. Risk of Multiple Reoperations After Lumbar Discectomy: A Population-Based Study. In Spine. March 15, 2003. Vol. 28. No. 6. Pp. 621-627.