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Surgery Versus Standardized Non-operative Care for the Treatment of Lumbar Disc Herniations: A Canadian Trial

This study is currently recruiting participants.
See Contacts and Locations
Verified July 2017 by The London Spine Centre
The Physicians' Services Incorporated Foundation
Lawson Health Research Institute
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
The London Spine Centre Identifier:
First received: April 13, 2011
Last updated: July 11, 2017
Last verified: July 2017
The objective of this study is to determine if surgery is superior to non-operative care for sciatica caused by a lumbar disc herniation. This study will include patients that have had severe sciatica for greater than 4 months which reflects the wait time of the Canadian health care system. This study is an opportunity to make an important contribution to medical science as there is no "top tier" evidence for or against this highly prevalent surgery. Although there have been several recent randomized trials in the field, all have been marred by a large number of patient crossing over from non-operative to operative treatment. Due to the wait for spine surgery, the Canadian system has a built-in delay that prevents such a cross over of patients. This study capitalizes on this unique opportunity to perform a high caliber surgical trial. Patients consenting to be in the study will be randomly assigned to expedited surgery within three weeks or standardized non-operative care while they wait on the surgeons list for consultation and then surgery (minimum wait of 9 months). The study will assess pain, function, quality of life, satisfaction, and work status to determine if one treatment is superior.

Condition Intervention Phase
Lumbar Spine Disc Herniation Lumbar Radiculopathy Procedure: Lumbar Microdiscectomy Other: Physiotherapy, Epidural injections, Education, Pain Medications, Anti-inflammatories Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by The London Spine Centre:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Visual Analogue Scale for intensity of Sciatica [ Time Frame: 6 months ]

Estimated Enrollment: 128
Actual Study Start Date: February 1, 2010
Estimated Study Completion Date: August 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date: August 2018 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Surgery Procedure: Lumbar Microdiscectomy
lumbar discectomy within 1 month of randomization
Active Comparator: Non-operative Other: Physiotherapy, Epidural injections, Education, Pain Medications, Anti-inflammatories
Physiotherapy following standardized protocol Epidurals - Depomedrol 80 mg plus 10cc of 0.35% Lidocaine Education to occur at each visit Medications may include: NSAIDS; Acetaminophen with codeine or oxycodone or tramadol; Amitriptyline or Neurontin or Pregabalin


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 60 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  1. 18 - 60 years old
  2. Unilateral, single L5 or S1 radiculopathy (leg pain following dermatomal distribution of L5 or S1)

    • Leg dominant pain over central back pain
    • Positive straight leg raise <70 degrees
  3. MRI with corresponding L4-5 or L5-S1 posterolateral disc herniation*
  4. Radicular symptom duration greater than 4 months and less than 12 months. May be recurrent if first episode occurred within 12 months and duration of presenting episode is greater than 4 months.
  5. Agree to possible discectomy

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Radiculopathy secondary to foraminal stenosis
  2. Radiculopathy secondary to intra-foraminal or far lateral disc herniation
  3. Radiculopathy secondary to lumbar central or lateral recess stenosis not caused by a posterolateral disc herniation
  4. Previous lumbar surgery at involved level
  5. Lumbar spondylolisthesis or lateral listhesis at level of disc herniation
  6. Lumbar Scoliosis greater than 10 degrees
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01335646

Contact: Christopher S Bailey, MD 519-685-8500 ext 55358

Canada, Ontario
London Health Science Centre Recruiting
London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 5L7
Contact: christopher S Bailey, MD    519-685-8500 ext 55358   
Sponsors and Collaborators
The London Spine Centre
The Physicians' Services Incorporated Foundation
Lawson Health Research Institute
  More Information

Responsible Party: The London Spine Centre Identifier: NCT01335646     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: UWO16000
Study First Received: April 13, 2011
Last Updated: July 11, 2017

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases
Neuromuscular Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Pathological Conditions, Anatomical
Anti-Inflammatory Agents
Sensory System Agents
Peripheral Nervous System Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs processed this record on September 21, 2017