Post-op cervical fusion X-rays may be superfluous

Post-op cervical fusion X-rays may be superfluous
X-rays taken during postoperative visits following cervical fusion surgery are rarely of value when history and exam are normal, according to a study published in the July issue of The Spine Journal.

(HealthDay)—X-rays taken during postoperative visits following cervical fusion surgery are rarely of value when history and exam are normal, according to a study published in the July issue of The Spine Journal.

Bennett D. Grimm, M.D., from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed the charts of 383 who underwent a cervical spine fusion (performed by one of seven surgeons) over a five-year period. The review included a total of 1,155 postoperative clinic visits (at least two visits with X-rays per patient). History and exam were graded as normal or abnormal, and plain radiographs were similarly graded.

The researchers found that very few patients with normal history and exam presentations (879 visits) had further action taken (0.57 percent), even in the presence of abnormal radiographs. Such actions included surgical revisions (two cases), prolongations of cervical collar immobilization (two cases), and one patient who underwent a flexion/extension radiographic evaluation followed by prolonged cervical collar immobilization. Abnormal X-rays were seen in 34 of the 276 visits with abnormal history and exam (12.3 percent). Forty-four percent of clinic visits with abnormal history and exam and abnormal X-rays went on to revision.

"Routine postoperative radiographs after cervical spine fusion rarely appear to be of value when patients present with a normal history and and may expose patients to unnecessary diagnostic studies and expenses," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to SI-BONE.

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

Related Stories

Radiography unnecessary after spinal fusion surgery

date Sep 17, 2012

(HealthDay)—In patients who have undergone spinal fusion surgery with intraoperative fluoroscopic guidance and have no postoperative problems, postoperative radiographs do not provide additional clinical ...

Surgery consultation common after MRI of the spine

date Jan 02, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Niger battles deadly meningitis epidemic

date 4 hours ago

Parents cradling sick children in their arms streamed into a treatment centre in Niger's capital Niamey, the victims of a meningitis epidemic that has claimed over 100 lives and appears to be accelerating.

Long lasting anti-hemophilia factor safe in kids

date 9 hours ago

Children with hemophilia A require three to four infusions each week to prevent bleeding episodes, chronic pain and joint damage. The effect on quality of life can be significant, due to time and discomfort associated with ...

Missouri detective battles flesh-eating infection

date 13 hours ago

Friends and loved ones of Lee's Summit, Mo., Police Detective Joshua Ward are praying for the 34-year-old married father of three who, even after five surgeries in as many days, remained in critical condition Monday at St. ...

User 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.