Current Practices in Lumbar Surgery Perioperative Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review

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The objective of this review was to identify current practices and relevant patient-reported and objective outcome measures with regard to rehabilitation protocols directed at the lumbar spine in perioperative procedure settings in order to inform clinical practice and future research.


A literature search was performed in MEDLINE, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), and PubMed using terms relevant to surgical interventions, rehabilitation, and the lumbar spine.


Twenty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria, and 28 investigated postoperative forms of rehabilitation. Patient-reported outcomes typically used were pain and disability, although a wide range of objective measures based on physical capacities were often reported. Rehabilitation programs, for the most part, included some form of strengthening exercises alone or in combination with stabilization exercises, aerobic conditioning, stretching, or education. Despite most studies reporting statistically significant results between intervention groups, considering clinically significant improvement within intervention groups yielded a different portrait.


A wide range of objective and subjective outcomes is used to document changes after active rehabilitation. Program components include both active and assisted interventions combined with various means of education and discussion. Multimodal rehabilitation protocols after lumbar surgery may be used to improve patient-reported and objective outcome measures such as pain, disability, and physical function. Further research should be conducted on the effects of preoperative rehabilitation programs.

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