Effectiveness of surgery for sciatica with disc herniation is not substantially affected by differences in surgical incidences among three countries: results from the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian spine registries

Effectiveness of surgery for sciatica with disc herniation is not substantially affected by differences in surgical incidences among three countries: results from the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian spine registries

Tobias Lagerbäck, Peter Fritzell, Olle Hägg, Dennis Nordvall, Greger Lønne, Tore K. Solberg, Mikkel Ø. Andersen, Søren Eiskjær, Martin Gehrchen, Wilco C. Jacobs, Miranda L. van Hooff, Paul Gerdhem

September 2018, pp 1 - 10
DOI
10.1007/s00586-018-5768-9
First Online: 29 September 2018
Abstract

Purpose

Yearly incidence of surgery for symptomatic lumbar disc herniation varies and is 29/100,000 in Sweden, 46/100,000 in Denmark and 58/100,000 in Norway. This variation was used to study whether differences in surgical incidence were associated with differences in preoperative patient characteristics as well as patient-reported outcomes.

Methods

Data from the national spine registers in Sweden, Denmark and Norway during 2011–2013 were pooled, and 9965 individuals, aged 18–65 years, of which 6468 had one-year follow-up data, were included in the study. Both absolute and case-mix-adjusted comparisons of the primary outcome Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the secondary outcomes EQ-5D-3L, and Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) for leg and back pain were performed. Case-mix adjustment was done for baseline age, sex, BMI, smoking, co-morbidity, duration of leg pain and preoperative value of the dependent variable.

Results

Mean improvement in the outcome variables exceeded previously described minimal clinical important change in all countries. Mean (95% CI) final scores of ODI were 18 (17–18), 19 (18–20) and 15 (15–16) in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, respectively. Corresponding results of EQ-5D-3L were 0.74 (0.73–0.75), 0.73 (0.72–0.75) and 0.75 (0.74–0.76). Results of NRS leg and back pain behaved similarly. Case-mix adjustment did not alter the findings substantially.

Conclusion

We found no clear association between incidence of surgery for lumbar disc herniation and preoperative patient characteristics as well as outcome, and the differences between the countries were lower than the minimal clinical important difference in all outcomes.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]