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Range of Motion May Not Predict Spinal Surgery Outcome

Last Updated: April 24, 2009.

Preoperative segmental lumbar range of motion and total range of motion do not appear to predict postoperative range of motion following lumbar total disc replacement, according to research published in the April 20 issue of Spine.

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- Preoperative segmental lumbar range of motion (s-ROM) and total range of motion (t-ROM) do not appear to predict postoperative range of motion following lumbar total disc replacement, according to research published in the April 20 issue of Spine.

Balkan Cakir, M.D., of the University of Ulm in Germany, and colleagues analyzed data from 40 patients with degenerative disc disease or postdiscectomy syndrome who received the ProDisc artificial disc. Researchers used flexion and extension radiographs to assess pre- and postoperative s-ROM and t-ROM. Subjects responded to the Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire before and after the operation.

The researchers found that following the surgery, s-ROM and t-ROM increased in 40 percent of patients; decreased in 35 and 30 percent of patients, respectively; and showed no change in 25 and 30 percent of patients, respectively. Change in s-ROM wasn't positively correlated with improved clinical outcome, but increased or unchanged t-ROM was linked with better clinical outcome.

"Both the quantitative s-ROM after total disc replacement and the evolution of s-ROM have neither beneficial nor detrimental impact on clinical outcome with regard to midterm follow-up. Although a theoretical impact of t-ROM on clinical outcome after total disc replacement may exist, it is challenging to attribute the clinical results only to the evolution of ROM, since the pain level postoperatively may have much more impact on the resulting ROM than vice versa," the authors conclude.

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