FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Lumbar spinal decompression improves pain and quality of life in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, but the surgery appears to worsen already high levels of erectile dysfunction (ED) in men with the spine condition, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of Spine.
Jens Gempt, M.D., of the Technische Universität München in Munich, Germany, and colleagues analyzed responses on the International Index of Erectile Function-5 questionnaire to assess erectile function in 38 patients (mean age, 63 years) before and after lumbar spinal decompression for lumbar spinal stenosis. The researchers also evaluated the patients for pre- and postoperative pain, quality of life, and walking distance.
After surgical decompression, the patients experienced significantly decreased back and leg pain accompanied by a significant increase in quality of life (a median 27.5 before surgery to 75 after surgery on a one to 100 numerical quality-of-life scale). Both before and after surgery, the incidence of ED was higher than population-based standard data. ED worsened significantly after surgery.
"Lumbar spinal stenosis is associated with a neglected prevalence of ED. Surprisingly, it does not improve after decompressive spinal surgery; moreover, a decline was observable. Underlying mechanisms of the postoperative decline remain obscure," the authors write.
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