I. Tuomainen, T Aalto, J. Pesonen, M. Rade, M. Pakarinen, V. Leinonen, H. Kröger, O. Airaksinen

April 2020, pp 1 - 12 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-020-06424-5

First Online: 27 April 2020

Unfolding the outcomes of surgical treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis—a prospective 5- and 10-year follow-up study


In this prospective study, we aim to determine surgical outcomes in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) 10 years after surgery.


The study population consisted of 96 LSS patients who underwent decompressive surgery, 72 of whom participated in the 10-year follow-up. The patients completed a questionnaire preoperatively and 3 months, 5 years, and 10 years postoperatively. Outcome measures were satisfaction with the surgical outcomes, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), the visual analog scale (VAS), the numeric rating scale (NRS-11), and walking ability quantified in meters. Postoperative improvements at 5 and 10 years were analyzed using linear mixed models. Furthermore, comparisons between postoperative time points were made for clinical courses of pain, disability, and walking ability.


At the 10-year follow-up, 68% of the patients were satisfied with the surgical outcomes. All the measured outcomes showed statistically significant improvement from baseline to the 5- and 10-year follow-up. The mean VAS score was 9.8 mm higher at the 5-year follow-up and 7.8 mm at the 10-year follow-up compared to the 3-month follow-up point. Similarly, the mean ODI was 4.8% higher at the 10-year follow-up compared to the 3-month follow-up point.


This study reports the clinical course of pain, disability, and walking distance after LSS surgery with the 10-year follow-up. Based on our study results, patients with LSS could expect to have positive effects of their back surgery up to 10 years. However, minor worsening in pain and disability may occur and one-fourth of the patients may need a reoperation during the 10-year follow-up period.

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