European Spine Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 420–427 | Cite as

Does surgical technique influence clinical outcome after lumbar spinal stenosis decompression? A comparative effectiveness study from the Norwegian Registry for Spine Surgery

  • Erland HermansenEmail author
  • Ulla Kristina Romild
  • Ivar Magne Austevoll
  • Tore Solberg
  • Kjersti Storheim
  • Jens Ivar Brox
  • Christian Hellum
  • Kari Indrekvam
Original Article



The aim of this study was to compare the clinical outcome of spinal process osteotomy with two other midline-retaining methods, bilateral laminotomy and unilateral laminotomy with crossover, among patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis.


This cohort study was based on data from the Norwegian Registry for Spine Surgery (NORspine). Patients were operated on between 2009 and 2013 at 31 Norwegian hospitals. The patients completed questionnaires at admission for surgery, and after 3 and 12 months. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were duration of surgery and hospital stay, Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) for back pain and leg pain, and EQ-5D and EQ-VAS. The patients were classified into one of three treatment groups according to the surgery they had received, and a propensity score was utilized to minimize bias. The three treatment groups were divided into subgroups based on Propensity Scores, and the statistical analyses were performed with and within the Propensity Score stratified subgroups.


103 patients had spinal process osteotomy, 966 patients had bilateral laminotomy, and 462 patients had unilateral laminotomy with crossover. Baseline clinical scores were similar in the three groups. There were no differences in improvement after 3 and 12 months between treatment groups. At 12 months, mean ODI improvement was 15.2 (SD 16.7) after spinous process osteotomy, 16.9 (SD 17.0) after bilateral laminotomy, and 16.7 (SD 16.9) after unilateral laminotomy with crossover. There were no differences in the secondary clinical outcomes or complication rates. Mean duration of surgery was greatest for spinal process osteotomy (p < 0.05). Length of stay was 2.1 days (SD 2.1) in the bilateral laminotomy group, 3.5 (SD 2.4) days for unilateral laminotomy, and 6.9 days (SD 4.1) for spinous process osteotomy group (p < 0.05).


In a propensity scored matched cohort, there were no differences in the clinical outcome 12 months after surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis performed using the three different posterior decompression techniques. Bilateral laminotomy had shortest duration of surgery and shortest length of hospital stay. Surgical technique does not seem to affect clinical outcome after three different midline-retaining posterior decompression techniques.


Lumbar spinal stenosis Laminotomy Posterior decompression Spinal process osteotomy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erland Hermansen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Ulla Kristina Romild
    • 4
  • Ivar Magne Austevoll
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tore Solberg
    • 5
    • 6
  • Kjersti Storheim
    • 7
  • Jens Ivar Brox
    • 8
  • Christian Hellum
    • 9
  • Kari Indrekvam
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic SurgeryÅlesund Hospital, Møre and Romsdal Hospital TrustÅlesundNorway
  2. 2.Kysthospitalet in Hagevik, Orthopedic ClinicHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of Clinical MedicineUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Department of ResearchLevanger Hospital, Nord-Trøndelag Hospital TrustLevangerNorway
  5. 5.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  6. 6.Norwegian National Registry for Spine SurgeryUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  7. 7.Communication and Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Disorders (FORMI)Oslo University Hospital, University of OsloOsloNorway
  8. 8.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationOslo University HospitalOsloNorway
  9. 9.Department of OrthopedicsOslo University HospitalOsloNorway

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