Early surgical decompression is recommended for patients with foot drop in lumbar degenerative diseases

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Early surgical decompression after foot drop is beneficial in terms of recovery rate and neurological improvement when compared with late surgery. This is according to a new meta-analysis which also indicates that surgery within one month is recommended for patients with foot drop in lumbar degenerative diseases.

The findings of this meta-analysis, which looked to determine the optimal surgical intervention timing for lumbar degenerative diseases, were published by Lee Dong-Yeong (Barun Hospital, Jinju, Republic of Korea) et al in the European Spine Journal.

The MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science and SCOPUS electronic databases were searched for relevant articles published up until May 2021.

Cochrane Collaboration guidelines were used for data extraction and quality assessment. Outcomes of interest were manual muscle testing (MMT) and recovery rate (MMT≥4) for foot drop in lumbar degenerative diseases.

Six clinical studies with a total of 312 randomised participants were included. There were 157 patients who underwent early decompression surgery, and 155 underwent late decompression surgery.

Findings showed significant differences between the two groups in recovery rate (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.59, 2.57) and neurological improvement (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.21, 1.66).


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