What’s the Claim?
A study from a large registry evaluated symptom duration prior to lumbar spine surgery for degenerative indications. Because it found an association between surgery after ≥ 1 year of symptoms, the authors made claims like:
- “Timely referral and surgery for degenerative lumbar pathology may optimize patient outcome”
- “Our analysis suggests a need for lumbar surgeries to be performed prior to 1 year of symptom duration in order to maximize patient outcomes”
- “Expeditious surgical intervention may benefit patients in achieving favorable outcomes”
Such claims are potentially misleading. Let’s talk about why you shouldn’t recommend earlier surgery based on this study.