Why “Useless’’ Spine Fusion Surgery is Still Popular

New York Times article stated, “Spine fusion surgery is no better than alternative non-surgical treatments.” Unlike most operations, spinal fusion was tested in four clinical trials. The conclusion was that “surgery was no better than alternative non-surgical treatments, like supervised exercise and therapy to help patients deal with their fear of back pain”. The studies were completed by the early 2000s and should have been enough to greatly limit or stop spinal fusions, according to Dr. Richard Deyo, professor of evidence-based medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University. But that has not happened, according to a recent report printed in The Spine Journal (National trends in the surgical treatment for lumbar degenerative disc disease: United States, 2000 to 2009). Instead, spinal fusion rates increased.

If you have been told you need spine fusion surgery, please do your research. Ask your surgeon to share the facts with you. 

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