Wait Time and Results of Lumbar Stenosis Surgery

Does the rooster crowing really bring the dawn?

Wait Time and Results of Lumbar Stenosis Surgery

What’s the Claim?

A study evaluating the association between “wait times” (defined as the time between the first visit and surgery) and lumbar decompression found:

  • Longer wait times were not correlated with smaller improvements in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores
  • But patients who waited more than 12 months to have surgery were less likely to achieve a clinically important improvement in ODI scores (defined as > 30% improvement) than were those who had surgery within 12 months (73% of patients having surgery within a year improved that much, compared to 46% of patients who waited more than a year for surgery; odds ratio = 0.29).

The authors concluded that waiting “may impact individual patients’ ability to achieve MCID [minimum clinically important difference].”

  • Is this conclusion reasonable? Nope.

How’s It Stack Up?