The ‘Lumbar Fusion Outcome Score’ (LUFOS): a new practical and surgically oriented grading system for preoperative prediction of surgical outcomes after lumbar spinal fusion in patients with degenerative disc disease and refractory chronic axial low back pain

Neurosurg Review (40) pp 67–81, 2017

In order to evaluate the predictive effect of non-invasive preoperative imaging methods on surgical outcomes of lumbar fusion for patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD) and refractory chronic axial low back pain (LBP), the authors conducted a retrospective review of 45 patients with DDD and refractory LBP submitted to anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) at a single center from 2007 to 2010.

Surgical outcomes – as measured by Visual Analog Scale (VAS/back pain) and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) – were evaluated pre-operatively and at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year post-operatively. Linear mixed-effects models were generated in order to identify possible preoperative imaging characteristics (including bone scan/99mTc scintigraphy increased endplate uptake, Modic endplate changes, and disc degeneration graded according to Pfirrmann classification) which may be predictive of long-term surgical outcomes .

After controlling for confounders, a combined score, the Lumbar Fusion Outcome Score (LUFOS), was developed. The LUFOS grading system was able to stratify patients in two general groups (Non-surgical: LUFOS 0 and 1; Surgical: LUFOS 2 and 3) that presented significantly different surgical outcomes in terms of estimated marginal means of VAS/back pain (p = 0.001) and ODI (p = 0.006) beginning at 3 months and continuing up to 1 year of follow-up.

In conclusion, LUFOS has been devised as a new practical and surgically oriented grading system based on simple key parameters from non-invasive preoperative imaging exams (magnetic resonance imaging/MRI and bone scan/99mTc scintigraphy) which has been shown to be highly predictive of surgical outcomes of patients undergoing lumbar fusion for treatment for refractory chronic axial LBP.

Early Rehabilitation Targeting Cognition, Behavior, and Motor Function After Lumbar Fusion A Randomized Controlled Trial

Spine 2010;35:848–857

Study Design. Open label randomized controlled trial with 3-, 6-, 12-month, and 2- to 3-year follow-up.

Objective. To investigate the effectiveness of a psychomotor therapy focusing on cognition, behavior, and motor relearning compared with exercise therapy applied during the first 3 months after lumbar fusion.

Summary of Background Data. Postoperative management after lumbar fusion commonly focuses on analgesic pain control and activities of daily living. After 3 months, exercise therapy is often implemented. No randomized controlled trial has investigated early rehabilitation techniques conducted during the first 3 months after surgery.

Methods. The study recruited 107 patients, aged 18 to 65 years, selected for lumbar fusion because of 12 months of symptomatic spinal stenosis, spondylosis, degenerative/isthmic spondylolisthesis, or degenerative disc disease. The exercise therapy group received a home program focusing on pain contingent training of back, abdominal, and leg muscle functional strength and endurance, stretching, and cardiovascular fitness. The psychomotor therapy group received a home program and 3 outpatient sessions focusing on modifying maladaptive pain cognitions, behaviors, and motor control. Rated questionnaires investigating functional disability, pain, health-related quality of life, functional self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, fear of movement/(re)injury, and coping were assessed at 3, 6, 12 months, and 2 to 3 years after surgery.

Results. Follow-up rates were 93% at 12 months and 81% at 2 to 3 years after surgery. Psychomotor therapy improved functional disability, self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and fear of movement/(re)injury significantly more than exercise therapy at respective follow-up occasions. Similar results occurred for pain coping but group differences were nonsignificant at 2 to 3 years follow-up. Potentially clinical relevant higher reoperation rates occurred after psychomotor therapy but rates were within normal ranges.

Conclusion. The study shows that postoperative rehabilitation can be safely implemented during the first 3 months after lumbar fusion and should include measures to modify psychological as well as motor functions.

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