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What Are the SPORT Results?

The results of SPORT were released in three phases, in the order of the three conditions studied:

The first results were from the Intervertebral Disc Herniation trial. Full papers can be accessed here, but in summary, the study found that while both groups improved substantially after treatment, the improvement from standard surgery, a procedure called "disectomy", was more rapid. Patients who had surgery also reported better results in physical function and satisfaction one and two years after the operation.

The second results are from the trial for Degenerative Spondylolisthesis. The full paper can be accessed here. In summary, the study found that patients with spinal stenosis accompanied by degenerative spondylolisthesis who were treated surgically showed substantially greater improvement in pain and function through 2 years follow-up compared to patients treated nonsurgically. Because patients in the randomized cohort "crossed over" either from the non-operative arm to have surgery or from the surgery arm to remain non-operative, the analyses were non-randomized, as-treated comparisons with careful control for potentially confounding baseline factors.

The third results are from the trial for Spinal Stenosis. The full paper can be accessed here. In summary, the study found that patients with spinal stenosis who were treated surgically showed significantly greater improvement in pain, function and disability through 2 years follow-up compared to patients treated nonsurgically. Because patients in the randomized cohort "crossed over" either from the non-operative arm to have surgery or from the surgery arm to remain non-operative, the analyses were non-randomized, as-treated comparisons with careful control for potentially confounding baseline factors.

Analyses of the 4-year follow-up data for each of the three cohorts, Intervertebral Disc Herniation, Spinal Stenosis, and Degenerative Spondylolisthesis, demonstrated that the gains the surgical patients had made were maintained at four years.

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