Decompression surgery is the most common surgical treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Relatively low satisfaction rate was reported. Patients often complaint of residual numbness despite significant pain relief. We hypothesized that numbness had a significant impact on patient satisfaction, but had not been evaluated, which is associated with low satisfaction rate. This study aimed to examine how much numbness is associated with patient satisfaction. We retrospectively reviewed prospectively collected data from consecutive patients who underwent decompression without fusion for LSS. We evaluated the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) scores of low back pain (LBP), leg pain, and leg numbness preoperatively and at the final follow-up visit. Improvement was evaluated using minimum clinically important differences (MCIDs). Patient satisfaction was evaluated using the question, “How satisfied are you with the overall result of your back operation?”. There are four possible answers consisting of “very satisfied (4-point)”, “somewhat satisfied (3-point)”, “somewhat dissatisfied (2-point)”, or “very dissatisfied (1-point)”. Spearman correlation was used to evaluate the association between patient satisfaction and reaching MCIDs. A total of 116 patients were included. All three components had correlation with patient satisfaction with the correlation efficient of 0.30 in LBP, 0.22 in leg pain, and 0.33 in numbness. Numbness had greatest correlation efficient value. We showed that numbness has a greater impact than leg/back pain on patient satisfaction in patients undergoing decompression for LSS. We suggest not only LBP and leg pain but also numbness should be evaluated pre- and postoperatively.
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