DG Journal Club
OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in pain during sexual activity after surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA There are limited data available on sexual function in patients undergoing surgery for LSS.
METHODS Data were retrieved from the Norwegian Registry for Spine Surgery. The primary outcome was change in pain during sexual activity at 1 year, assessed by item number eight of the Oswestry disability index questionnaire. Secondary outcome measures included Oswestry Disability Index, EuroQol-5D, and numeric rating scale scores for back and leg pain.
RESULTS Among the 12,954 patients included, 9908 (76.5%) completed 1-year follow-up. At baseline 9579 patients (73.9%) provided information about pain during sexual activity, whereas 7424 (74.9%) among those with complete follow-up completed this item. Preoperatively 2528 of 9579 patients (26.4%) reported a normal sex-life without pain compared with 4294 of 7424 patients (57.8%) at 1 year. Preoperatively 1007 (10.5%) patients reported that pain prevented any sex-life, compared with 393 patients (5.3%) at 1 year. At baseline 7051 of 9579 patients (73.6%) reported that sexual activity caused pain, and among these 3145 of 4768 responders (66%) reported an improvement at 1 year. A multivariable regression analysis showed that having a life partner, college education, and working until time of surgery were predictors of improvement in pain during sexual activity. Current tobacco smoking, pain duration>12 months, previous spine surgery, and complications occurring within 3 months were negative predictors.
CONCLUSION This study clearly demonstrates that a large proportion of patients undergoing surgery for LSS experienced an improvement in pain during sexual activity at 1 year.Level of Evidence: 2.