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Observational Study
. 2017 Mar;26(3):857-864.
doi: 10.1007/s00586-016-4891-8. Epub 2016 Dec 21.

Gender Differences After Lumbar Sequestrectomy: A Prospective Clinical Trial Using Quantitative Sensory Testing

Observational Study

Gender Differences After Lumbar Sequestrectomy: A Prospective Clinical Trial Using Quantitative Sensory Testing

Anja Tschugg et al. Eur Spine J. .


Background: Quantitative sensory testing (QST) gained popularity to evaluate the time course of recovery in sensory dysfunction and the results of different treatment options. Concerning sex differences in lumbar spine surgery, female gender seems to play a major role as a negative prognostic factor in different spinal disorders. For this purpose, we hypothesised that there are also comparable differences in pain patterns in men and women after lumbar sequestrectomy using QST.

Methods: We applied the QST protocol of the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain in 53 patients (21 women and 32 men) with a single lumbar disc herniation confirmed on MRI treated by a lumbar sequestrectomy. Further evaluation included a detailed medical history, a physical examination, and various questionnaires: Beck-Depression-Inventory, Oswestry Disability Index, Core Outcome Measure Index, painDETECT-Questionnaire and EQ-5D thermometer.

Results: Our analyses showed lower heat thresholds in females preoperatively, that adjusted to that of males 1 week postoperatively. Pressure pain thresholds were lower in women as well, but differed between genders throughout the study. Vibration perception deficits resolve earlier in female than in male patients. Both, women and men, had an excellent overall improvement, postoperatively.

Conclusion: Our results clearly revealed pre- and postoperative differences in pain perception between genders. These differences have to be taken into account in the evaluation of outcome between genders. Therefore, QST seems to be a good method to evaluate the time course of recovery after surgery.

Keywords: Gender differences in spine surgery; Lumbar disc herniation; Lumbar radiculopathy; Lumbar sequestrectomy; Quantitative sensory testing.

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