148 elderly patients, aged 70 years or more, diagnosed as having lumbar spinal stenosis, were operated upon at our institution during 1983 to 1995. Totally 161 operative procedures were performed. We analysed retrospectively the results of the surgical treatment.
The most frequently performed procedure was multisegmental laminectomy, in 32% interlaminar fenestration and laminotomy were done. In 9 cases fusion was indicated, two of them being secondary operations. The mean hospital stay was 11 days. The morbidity was 6%, and there was one fatality (0.6%). The outcome was determined according to the six-grade classification proposed by Pappas and Sonntag . Overall, in 91% of cases satisfactory-to-excellent result could be achieved.
We conclude, that in elderly patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis, with no evidence of instability, decompressive surgery without stabilisation can be done in the majority of patients with low morbidity and high expectation of clinical improvement.