Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Surgery an Option for Spinal Stenosis

But Spinal Fusion Isn’t Needed, Researcher Says

Surgery Not the Only Option continued...

Though the surgically treated patients fared better in terms of pain and function in the combined analysis of both study parts, the researchers reported little evidence of harm from either treatment.

Surgery-related complications were uncommon, and patients treated without surgery showed some improvement over the two-year follow-up.

"Often patients fear they will get worse without surgery, but this was not the case for the majority of patients in the non-surgical group, who, on average, showed small improvements in all outcomes," the researchers write.

The message is clear, Weinstein says: Patients need to understand that surgery is not the only treatment option for spinal stenosis.

"Surgery is an elective procedure for this condition," he says. "Some patients find that they can live with their symptoms, and others find they can't. It is up to the physician to provide the information the patient needs to make an informed choice."

Clinician and back pain researcher Richard Deyo, MD, agrees.

Deyo is the Kaiser Permanente professor of evidence-based family medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

"The key is for patients to understand their choices and to understand what to expect from those choices," he says. "If they are well informed and clearly have a preference, this study finds that either surgical or nonsurgical treatment is a reasonable choice."

1|2

Today on WebMD

Woman holding lower back
Or is it another form of back pain?
Hand on back
Eight out of 10 us will have it. Here’s the myths vs. the facts.
 
Woman doing pilates
Good and bad exercises
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Use it to manage your pain.
 
Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
Video
pain in brain and nerves
Slideshow
 
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Article
 
Woman holding lower back
Slideshow
Weight Loss Surgery
Slideshow
 
lumbar spine
Slideshow
back pain
Article