Age alone should not be a contraindication to lumbar microdiskectomy, as long as the individual is fit for surgery. That is the conclusion of the authors of a new study which compared outcomes among 5,195 patients younger than 65 years of age and 381 patients 65 years of age or older, from the Norwegian Registry for Spine Surgery (NORspine).
The study found that elderly patients actually experienced more improvement in low back pain following the surgery. Compared with younger patients however, older patients experienced more perioperative complications (4.2 per cent versus 2.3 per cent) and more complications occurring within three months of hospital discharge (12.4 per cent versus 5.4 per cent). The most common complications among elderly paricipants were urinary tract infections, micturition problems, and unintentional durotomies. Younger patients had shorter hospital stays than patients aged 65 years of age or older (2.7 versus 1.8 days).
Writing in JAMA Surgery , the authors said: “Although the patients 65 years of age or older had more minor complications and longer hospital stays, they experienced improvements in their conditions after a lumbar microdiskectomy that were similar to those of the patients younger than 65 years of age.”