Depression Linked to Poorer Spinal Surgery Outcomes

Preoperative and early postoperative depression leads to lower function ability and more pain
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) patients who undergo decompressive surgery are more likely to report poorer outcomes from surgery if they were suffering from depression prior to surgery or in the early stages of recovery, according to a study in the Nov. 1 issue of Spine.

Sanna Sinikallio, Ph.D., of Kuopio University Hospital in Finland, and colleagues conducted a study of 102 patients who underwent decompressive surgery for LSS who completed questionnaires on depression, pain, and physical functioning before surgery and again after three months and one year.

The researchers found that, after one year post-surgery, 18 percent of respondents were depressed; and, those who had higher scores for depression prior to surgery were more likely to report lower functional ability, more severe symptoms and poorer walking capacity than those who were not depressed prior to surgery. In addition, severe depression was associated with more pain and disability one year after surgery.

"Our results strongly suggest that depression is a factor that needs to be recognized among LSS patients. Of particular interest is our finding that a high depressive burden is significantly associated with a poorer one-year surgery outcome, encompassing all the studied outcome variables," the authors write. "We suggest a treatment model that includes thorough preoperative and early postoperative clinical evaluation and applies a depression scale. Consequently, when needed, depression would be treated appropriately."

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