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.
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