ANCHOR LEAD: A VERY SPECIFIC GROUP OF PEOPLE MAY BENEFIT FROM SPINE SURGERY, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Spinal stenosis occurs when the canal in the vertebral column narrows. Since that canal houses the spinal cord and the nerves that come off of it, when it is compressed severe pain and disability may result. Now a study has shown that some of these people will benefit more from surgery than other forms of therapy. Kieran Murphy, a back expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.
MURPHY: There’s always been confusion about the population that may benefit from that intervention, who needs surgery who doesn’t need surgery? Nobody wants to operate on somebody who isn’t a candidate because they’re not going to get better. So this paper is interesting because it shows that in a group with purely mechanical stenosis the surgical group did better than the treatment group that received either a medical approach with antiinflammatories or physiotherapy or steroid injections. And that’s good to know that there is a subset of people who do benefit from surgery. :29
Murphy recommends consulting an expert in back problems to make the diagnosis. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.