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Papers of the Week

2022 Jun 04




AI Prediction of Neuropathic Pain after Lumbar Disc Herniation-Machine Learning Reveals Influencing Factors.


Wirries A, Geiger F, Hammad A, Bäumlein M, Schmeller J N, Blümcke I, Jabari S
Biomedicines. 2022 Jun 04; 10(6).
PMID: 35740341.


The treatment options for neuropathic pain caused by lumbar disc herniation have been debated controversially in the literature. Whether surgical or conservative therapy makes more sense in individual cases can hardly be answered. We have investigated whether a machine learning-based prediction of outcome, regarding neuropathic pain development, after lumbar disc herniation treatment is possible. The extensive datasets of 123 consecutive patients were used to predict the development of neuropathic pain, measured by a visual analogue scale (VAS) for leg pain and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), at 6 weeks, 6 months and 1 year after treatment of lumbar disc herniation in a machine learning approach. Using a decision tree regressor algorithm, a prediction quality within the limits of the minimum clinically important difference for the VAS and ODI value could be achieved. An analysis of the influencing factors of the algorithm reveals the important role of psychological factors as well as body weight and age with pre-existing conditions for an accurate prediction of neuropathic pain. The machine learning algorithm developed here can enable an assessment of the course of treatment after lumbar disc herniation. The early, comparative individual prediction of a therapy outcome is important to avoid unnecessary surgical therapies as well as insufficient conservative therapies and prevent the chronification of neuropathic pain.