Background: Despite efforts toward gender equality in clinical trial enrollment, females are frequently underrepresented and gender-specific data analysis is often unavailable. The purpose of this study was to determine if gender equality exists in the management of degenerative lumbar disease. Methods: Part 1: A systematic scoping review was conducted according to PRISMA guidelines, in order to synthesize the adult surgical literature regarding gender differences in pre- and post-operative clinical assessment scores for patients diagnosed with degenerative lumbar disease.
Part 2: An ambispective cohort analysis (multi-variate logistic regression) of the Canadian Spine Outcomes Research Network registry was performed to address knowledge gaps identified in “Part 1”. Results: Part 1: Thirty articles were identified, accounting for 32,951 patients. Female patients have worse absolute pre-operative pain, disability and health-related quality-of-life (HRQoL). Following surgery, females have worse absolute pain, disability, and HRQoL, but demonstrate an equal or greater interval change compared to males.
Part 2: Data was analyzed for 5,039 patients. Significant gender differences in pre-operative utilization of healthcare resources (medication use, diagnostic testing, medical and allied healthcare professional visits) were identified. Conclusions: Significant gender disparities in clinical assessment scores and the pre-operative utilization of healthcare resources were identified for patients undergoing surgery for degenerative lumbar disease.