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Lumbar Fusion Patients have Worse Outcome than Non-Surgical Patients
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cweinbl posted:
There have been variable successes of lumbar-spine fusion surgeries reported in patients with work-related low-back injuries causing chronic pain. But fusion surgery is apparently not the best choice for lumbar pain. A new study proposes that long-term outcomes, including return to work, are actually better without the surgery. At the time of followup, almost all categories of outcomes were worse for patients who underwent lumbar fusion surgery. Just over one-fourth (25.93%) of lumbar fusion patients had returned to work compared with two-thirds (66.62%) of those treated without surgery. Among patients who underwent surgery, 36% experienced some type of complication and 27% required repeat surgery. Furthermore, 11% of the surgical patients were classified as having permanent disability but only 2% of those treated without surgery. Nearly 85% of surgical patients were continuing to take opioid analgesics compared with 49% of controls, and the average daily dose of morphine-equivalent oral opioids taken by surgical patients was higher after than before surgery.

A potentially confounding factor in this study is that the group of legally-represented patients had a poorer retrn to work rate and that time off from work was also a factor. However, taken into consideration, these confounding factors do not account for the significant standard deviation variation among the fusion group.

Read the entire research here: http://updates.pain-topics.org/2011/03/lumbar-fusion-surgery-for-back-pain.html .
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