European Spine Journal

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 335–338

Severe sciatica: a 13-year follow-up of 342 patients

  • F. Nykvist
  • M. Hurme
  • H. Alaranta
  • M. Kaitsaari
Original Articles

Summary

This study involved 342 patients hospitalized because of severe, persistent sciatica suggestive of a lumbar intervertebral disc herniation. After standard clinical evaluation. EMG and myelography, 220 patients underwent lumbar discectomy. The remaining 122 patients were treated conservatively. Follow-up examinations were arranged after 1, 5 and 13 years. The study focused on the rehabilitation outcome in general and differences in outcome between the two treatment groups. Several indicators showed a rather poor outcome for sciatica patients during the 13-year follow-up period. In the operated group 16% had been re-operated because of lumbar disc herniation. True recurrence of herniation (same level and side) occurred in 8%. In the conservatively treated group 14% had undergone spinal surgery. Nearly 70% of the patients still reported sciatica. Self-assessed levels of low back pain were “no change/worse” for 19% in the operated group and for 44% in the conservatively treated group. In both the study groups, nearly 40% of the subjects had retired on disability pensions.

Key words

Sciatica Lumbar herniated disc Discectomy Conservative treatment 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Nykvist
    • 1
  • M. Hurme
    • 2
  • H. Alaranta
    • 3
  • M. Kaitsaari
    • 1
  1. 1.Research and Development Centre of the Social Insurance InstitutionTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryTurku City HospitalTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Rehabilitation Unit (Orton)Invalid FoundationHelsinkiFinland

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