Lumbar Spine Surgery Helps Parkinson Patients

Despite a higher rate of complications than in the general population, overall outcomes of lumbar spine surgery in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson disease are favorable, with significant improvements in spine-related pain and function. So concludes a study by Schroeder et al. in the October 21, 2015 Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. Improvements were seen in surgeries with and without instrumentation over an average follow-up of more than two years.

Among the 20 of 96 patients in the study who required revision surgery, risk factors for revision included a Parkinson disease severity of ≥3 on the modified Hoehn and Yahr scale, a history of diabetes mellitus, treatment for osteoporosis, and a combined anterior/posterior surgical approach (which was used in 22 of 63 patients who underwent instrumented fusions).

In light of these findings, Schroeder et al. recommend that, among patients who have Parkinson severity ≥3 and in those with non-insulin-dependent diabetes or severe osteoporosis, lumbar spine surgery should be done only in cases with concomitant myelopathy. They also remind surgeons that if the patient’s spine pathology is severe enough to mandate a combined anterior and posterior approach, “the risk of surgery is high.”

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