Pre-op physiatry consultation reduces spinal surgery rates

February 5, 2013
Pre-op physiatry consultation reduces spinal surgery rates
Requiring patients interested in spinal surgery to first see a rehabilitation physician reduces the number of spinal surgeries, reduces costs, and leaves patients largely satisfied, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

(HealthDay)—Requiring patients interested in spinal surgery to first see a rehabilitation physician reduces the number of spinal surgeries, reduces costs, and leaves patients largely satisfied, according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of Spine.

John Fox, M.D., from Priority Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., and colleagues reviewed data on rates to examine the impact of an insurer rule requiring patients with non-urgent spine surgical consultations to have a single visit with a physiatrist starting in 2007. Patients evaluated by physiatrists were surveyed to assess satisfaction.

After 2007, the researchers identified a 70 percent increase in physiatry referrals, a 48 percent decrease in surgical referrals, and a 25 percent decrease in the total number of spine operations. Total spine care costs fell by 12.1 percent and surgical costs fell by 25.1 percent. Spinal fusion increased from 55 to 63 percent of all surgical procedures, although rates decreased. Of the 740 patients evaluated by physiatrists, 74 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with the physiatry consultation, while only 40 percent of patients who had undergone previous spine surgery were satisfied.

"This study showed that a required physiatrist consultation for elective spine surgery radically decreased the operative rate while maintaining across a large region," Fox and colleagues conclude. "Although experiences might be different in other communities, policies such as this one have the potential to improve spine care and decrease cost elsewhere."

The study was funded by Priority Health; several authors are employees of Priority Health.

Explore further: Study: One-fifth of spine surgery patients develop PTSD symptoms

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Related Stories

Readmission seen in 7 percent of elective spine surgeries

December 11, 2012

(HealthDay)—About 7 to 8 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who undergo elective spine surgery for degenerative conditions are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, according to a study published in the October issue ...

Surgery consultation common after MRI of the spine

January 2, 2013

(HealthDay)—Almost half of patients whose primary care physicians recommend a lumbosacral or cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan go on to receive a surgical consultation, but few end up undergoing spinal ...

Back pain intensity most influential in fusion decision

January 24, 2013

(HealthDay)—Patients seeing a spine surgeon are most influenced by low back pain intensity when considering whether to proceed with spinal fusion surgery, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of Spine.

Recommended for you

A recipe for long-lasting livers

April 22, 2015

People waiting for organ transplants may soon have higher hopes of getting the help that they need in time. Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology have developed a new technique that extends the time that ...

Surgeon to offer ideas on a way to do human head transplants

February 26, 2015

Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer's American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together ...

New tool helps guide brain cancer surgery

July 3, 2014

A tool to help brain surgeons test and more precisely remove cancerous tissue was successfully used during surgery, according to a Purdue University and Brigham and Women's Hospital study.

New imaging technique sharpens surgeons' vision

February 11, 2014

Which superhuman power would you choose for help on the job? For Dr. Julie Margenthaler, it's a technology that brings to mind X-ray vision, used for the first time Monday during an operation to remove a patient's lymph node.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.