The association between lumbar lordosis preoperatively and changes in PROMs for lumbar spinal stenosis patients 2 years after spinal surgery: radiological and clinical results from the NORDSTEN-spinal stenosis trial

Eur Spine J. 2024 Feb 22. doi: 10.1007/s00586-024-08137-5. Online ahead of print.


Background: Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) sometimes have lower lumbar lordosis (LL), and the incidence of LSS correlates closely with the loss of LL. The few studies that have evaluated the association between LL and clinical outcomes after non-instrumented surgery for LSS show conflicting results. This study investigates the association between preoperative LL and changes in PROMs 2 years after decompressive surgery.

Method: This prospective cohort study obtained preoperative and postoperative data for 401 patients from the multicenter randomized controlled spinal stenosis trial as part of the NORwegian degenerative spondylolisthesis and spinal STENosis (NORDSTEN) study. Before surgery, the radiological sagittal alignment parameter LL was measured using standing X-rays. The association between LL and 2-year postoperative changes was analyzed using the oswestry disability index (ODI), a numeric rating scale (NRS) for low back and leg pain, the Zurich claudication questionnaire (ZCQ), and the global perceived effect (GPE) score. The changes in PROMs 2 years after surgery for quintiles of lumbar lordosis were adjusted for the respective baseline PROMs: age, sex, smoking, and BMI. The Schizas index and the Pfirrmann index were used to analyze multiple regressions for changes in PROMs.

Results: There were no associations in the adjusted and unadjusted analyses between preoperative LL and changes in ODI, ZCQ, GPE, and NRS for back and leg pain 2 years after surgery.

Conclusion: LL before surgery was not associated with changes in PROMs 2 years after surgery. Lumbar lordosis should not be a factor when considering decompressive surgery for LSS.

Keywords: Lumbar lordosis; Lumbar spinal stenosis; Lumbar spine surgery; Patient-related outcome measures.