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Surgical outcome of drop foot caused by degenerative lumbar diseases.

Spine 2007 April 16
STUDY DESIGN: A total of 46 patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery for degenerative lumbar disease and presenting with drop foot were included in this retrospective study.

OBJECTIVE: To determine which preoperative patients' symptoms were of statistical significance in their effect on surgical outcome.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Drop foot is a neuromuscular condition that results in palsy of the ankle dorsiflexion and is a major problem in Japanese daily life. Few studies have described the effect of a surgical intervention on drop foot associated with degenerative lumbar disorders and the factors that affect the surgical outcome. The manual muscle test can be used to determine the muscular strength of the tibialis anterior. Drop foot is then defined as a score below 3 out of 5.

METHODS: Patient medical history, preoperative tibialis anterior strength, presence of leg pain, and duration of palsy were recorded and compared with surgical outcome.

RESULTS: Of patients, 61% recovered from drop foot after surgery. Patients with a tibialis anterior score of 2-3- and those suffering from palsy for a shorter duration of time showed better surgical results. Cases without leg pain were also shown to be treated effectively with surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: Palsy duration and preoperative strength were factors that most affected drop foot recovery following surgical intervention for spinal degeneration.

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