Prognosis of Surgical Treatment for Degenerative Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: A Prospective Cohort Study of Clinical Outcomes and Health-Related Quality of Life Across Gender and Age Groups

Elisabeth Thornes*, 1, Nikolaos Ikonomou1, Margreth Grotle2, 3
1 Martina Hansens Hospital, Oslo, Norway
2 FORMI (Communication Unit for Musculoskeletal Disorders), Oslo University Hospital, Norway
3 National Resource Centre for Rehabilitation in Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Norway

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© Thornes et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Orthopedics, Martina Hansens Hospital, Postbox 23, 1306 Bærum Postterminal, Norway; Tel: +47 67 52 18 04; Fax: +47 67 52 17 00; E-mail:


Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis is a common condition and the most usual indication for spinal surgery in adult patients. The main objective of this study was to investigate clinical outcomes, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and satisfaction among patients with a diagnosed lumbar spinal stenosis who were surgically treated, and whether these outcomes differed according to gender and age. Surgery was performed on 100 patients with clinical and radiological defined lumbar spinal stenosis. All patients completed questionnaires twice before surgery and at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 1 year postoperatively. Main outcomes were symptoms, physical function and patient satisfaction assessed by the Swiss Spinal Stenosis Questionnaire and HRQoL by the Short Form 36 health survey (SF36). There were large improvements in all clinical outcomes and in the physical subscales of the SF36. A marked reduction of average 32.3% was seen in symptoms already at 6 weeks follow-up. Physical function had improved with an average of 29.8% at 1-year follow-up. There was no statistical significant effect of age and gender on symptoms and physical function. Patients more than 65 years were significantly less satisfied at the 1-year follow-up as compared to the younger patients (p=0.012). This study showed that the majority of patients improved significantly in symptoms, physical function and physical HRQoL after surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis, regardless of age and gender. Age showed to be closely connected to satisfaction.

Keywords: Degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis, surgery, clinical course, symptoms, physical function, satisfaction, health-related quality-of-life.