Gender differences in lumbar disc herniation surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Although there have been numerous publications on lumbar disc herniation (LDH) treated surgically, there has been little interest in sex differences. It has been shown in many studies that sex differences may be important in certain diseases. We therefore reviewed consecutive register material from one institution for possible gender differences in pre- and postoperative parameters in patients operated for lumbar disc herniation.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Pre- and postoperative parameters for all patients operated on at the Department of Orthopedics, Lund University Hospital over 6 years (2000-2005 inclusive) (301 patients, 165 males) were analyzed regarding sex differences.

RESULTS: Statistically significant and clinically relevant sex differences were found. Preoperatively, females had more pronounced back pain and disability, and also lower quality of life in some respects. At 1-year followup, females reported a higher rate of consumption of analgesics, a higher degree of postoperative back and leg pain, and less improvement regarding disability and some aspects of quality of life. Relative improvement, rate of return to work, and satisfaction with the outcome of surgery were not, however, statistically significantly different between females and males.

INTERPRETATION: There are statistically significant differences between the sexes in lumbar disc herniation surgery regarding basic demographic status and postoperative status, whereas the surgical effect is similar. Further investigations should focus on whether there is a true sex difference or whether these differences are due to selection for surgery, differences in proneness to seek medical advice or to accept/choose surgery, or other unknown factors.


External organisations
  • Norrland University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Orthopedics


  • Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Back Pain, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Intervertebral Disc Displacement, Lumbar Vertebrae, Male, Middle Aged, Outcome Assessment (Health Care), Pain Measurement, Patient Satisfaction, Quality of Life, Registries, Sex Distribution, Sex Factors, Treatment Outcome, Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-649
Number of pages7
JournalActa Orthopaedica
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Oct
Publication categoryResearch