Education level as a prognostic indicator at 12 months following decompression surgery for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis

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OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to analyze the effect of patient education level on functional outcomes following decompression surgery for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.

METHODS

Patients with surgically decompressed symptomatic lumbar stenosis were collected in a prospective observational registry at a single institution between 2012 and 2014. Patient education level was compared to surgical outcomes to elucidate any relationships. Outcomes were defined using the Oswestry Disability Index score, back and leg pain visual analog scale (VAS) score, and the EuroQol–5 Dimensions questionnaire score.

RESULTS

Of 101 patients with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis, 27 had no college education and 74 had a college education (i.e., 2-year, 4-year, or postgraduate degree). Preoperatively, patients with no college education had statistically significantly greater back and leg pain VAS scores when compared to patients with a college education. However, there was no statistically significant difference in quality of life or disability between those with no college education and those with a college education. Postoperatively, patients in both cohorts improved in all 4 patient-reported outcomes at 3 and 12 months after treatment for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite their education level, both cohorts showed improvement in their functional outcomes at 3 and 12 months after decompression surgery for symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis.

ABBREVIATIONS EQ-5D = EuroQol–5 Dimensions; GED = General Equivalency Development; IDH = intervertebral disc herniation; MCID = minimum clinically important difference; ODI = Oswestry Disability Index; SPORT = Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial; VAS = visual analog scale.
Article Information

Contributor Notes

Correspondence Matthew S. Erwood: University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL. merwood@uabmc.edu.INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online October 5, 2018; DOI: 10.3171/2018.6.SPINE18226.Disclosures Dr. Erwood was the North Family Clinical Scholar in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham during the study period.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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