(HealthDay News) – Clinical outcomes are positive for patients with chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease who undergo lumbar fusion, according to a review published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

Frank M. Phillips, MD, from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and identified 26 articles to analyze clinical outcomes following lumbar fusion for chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease. A total of 3,060 patients were included in the fusion cohorts.

The researchers found that there were weighted average improvements in the visual analogue scale for back pain (36.8/100), the Oswestry Disability Index (22.2), and in the Short-Form-36 Physical Component Scale (12.5). Across studies, patient satisfaction averaged 71.1%. The reoperation rate averaged 12.5% overall and 9.2% at the index level, while radiographical fusion rates averaged 89.1%. There was no significant difference in any of the outcome measures in collective studies, based on level of evidence.

“The body of literature supports fusion surgery as a viable treatment option for reducing pain and improving function in patients with chronic LBP refractory to nonsurgical care when a diagnosis of disc degeneration can be made,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties and patents; the study was partially funded by NuVasive Inc.

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