Their age and the length of time they've have had symptoms of spinal cord pressure seem to be good clues as to how well patients will do after this kind of surgery. In a recent study, patients who were in their forties or fifties and had symptoms for about a year did better than older patients whose symptoms had lasted two or three years.
Certain patterns seen on MRI may also give clues about surgery results. MRI--magnetic resonance imaging--is a test that shows tissues in the body. An MRI scan showing lots of tissue damage in the spinal cord is an indication the patient won't have optimal results with surgery.