Braking reaction time before and after surgery for patients with recurrent lumbar disc herniation

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OBJECTIVE

The positive effect of primary lumbar disc surgery on braking reaction time (BRT) has already been shown. The authors investigated the effect of recurrent lumbar disc herniation surgery on BRT.

METHODS

Twenty-four patients (mean age 49.9 years) were investigated for BRT 1 day before surgery, postoperatively before hospital discharge, and 4 to 5 weeks after surgery. Thirty-one healthy subjects served as a control group.

RESULTS

Significant improvement of BRT following surgery was found in all patients (p < 0.05). For patients with right-sided recurrent disc herniation, median BRT was 736 msec before surgery, 685 msec immediately postoperatively, and 662 msec at follow-up. For patients with left-sided recurrent disc herniation, median BRT was 674 msec preoperatively, 585 msec postoperatively, and 578 msec at follow-up. Control subjects had a median BRT of 487, which differed significantly from the patient BRTs at all 3 test times (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

A significant reduction in BRT in patients with recurrent disc herniation was found following lumbar disc revision surgery, indicating a positive impact of surgery. Due to the improvement in BRT observed immediately after surgery, we conclude that it is appropriate to recommend that patients keep driving after being discharged from the hospital.

ABBREVIATIONS BRT = braking reaction time; FU = follow-up; VAS = visual analog scale.

Article Information

Correspondence Martin Thaler: Medical University Innsbruck, Austria. martin.thaler@i-med.ac.at.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online March 15, 2019; DOI: 10.3171/2019.1.SPINE18859.

Disclosures All authors are paid employees of the Medical University of Innsbruck.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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    The custom-built car simulator which was used and validated in previously published reports is shown.1,3 The car simulator consists of a car seat with adjustable seat inclination, head rest, and seat-to-pedal distance to simulate the patient’s favorite position in a car. The seat is mounted on a frame with hanging pedals on rubber-damped pivots. An external box with a green and a red lamp is connected to the measurement system and is used to determine BRT. Figure is available in color online only.

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