Return to Play After Lumbar Spine Surgery

Ralph W. Cook, Wellington K Hsu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Surgical management of lumbar spine conditions can produce excellent outcomes in athletes. Microdiscectomy for lumbar disc herniation has favorable outcomes; most athletes return to play at preoperative performance levels. Direct pars repair is successful in younger athletes, with high rates of return to play for a variety of fixation techniques. Fusion in athletes with scoliosis is a negative predictor. There are few evidence-based return to play criteria. Athletes should demonstrate full resolution of symptoms and flexibility, endurance, and strength before returning to play. Deciding when to return an athlete to sport depends on particular injury sustained, sport, and individual factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-619
Number of pages11
JournalClinics in Sports Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Athlete
  • Lumbar spine injury
  • Lumbar spine surgery
  • Performance outcomes
  • Return to play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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