Lumbar Brace of No Benefit After Spine Arthrodesis

No significant advantage or disadvantage of lumbar corset use following lumbar arthrodesis
By Pat F. Bass, M.D.
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- No substantial improvements in self-reported functional outcomes were noted following eight weeks of continuous postoperative external lumbar corset support, according to a report in the October issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

A.J. Yee, M.D., of the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues performed a prospective randomized trial comparing the effect of wearing a postoperative corset continuously for eight weeks following lumbar arthrodesis with no intervention. Ninety patients were randomized with functional outcome assessment (the Dallas Pain Questionnaire [DPQ] and the Short Form-36 [SF-36]), evaluated preoperatively, one year and two years post surgery.

Follow-up was complete for 80 percent of patients (37 in the corset group; 35 in the control group), the report indicates. All patients had significant improvement in both disease-specific and general health measures two years postoperatively. At two years of follow-up, no significant differences in the DPQ or SF-36 scores based on treatment group were noted. Postoperative complications and subsequent spinal operations due to radiographic evidence of non-union were similar in the two groups, the researchers report.

"At two years postoperatively, there did not appear to be a significant advantage or disadvantage to the use of a lumbar corset as demonstrated by patient-reported generic and disease-specific functional measures, radiographic outcomes, and complications following the surgery," the authors conclude. "As one can define success on the basis of a variety of end point goals, ongoing study is required to determine if certain patient subgroups may benefit from brace treatment."

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