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Impact of Lumbar Fusion on Healthcare Resource Utilization.

Impact of Lumbar Fusion on Healthcare Resource Utilization.

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2015 Oct 15;

Authors: Mina C, Carreon LY, Glassman SD

STUDY DESIGN: Longitudinal Cohort OBJECTIVES.: To determine the extent of healthcare resource utilization decreases two years after lumbar spinal fusion.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Despite the assumption that surgery will minimize the need for ongoing nonsurgical treatment, the impact of lumbar fusion on subsequent healthcare resource utilization has not been effectively studied.
METHODS: Patients who had continuous coverage by a major insurer during the year before decompression and posterolateral instrumented spinal fusion, and the two and a half years following were identified. All charges processed during this time-period were collected. Charges associated with the index surgery, the 90-day postoperative period, and those unrelated to spinal care were excluded. Associations with Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score improvement at two years after surgery and healthcare resource utilization were determined.
RESULTS: 66 patients were included in the analysis. The mean age was 59 and 39% were males. There was a decrease in healthcare utilization costs one year after surgery ($3,267.59) compared to pre-op ($4,246.32), but this was not statistically significant (p?=?0.197). There was a statistically significant decrease in costs during the second year after surgery ($1,420.97) compared to either pre-op (p?=?0.000) or one-year costs (p?=?0.001). No statistically significant correlations could be found between change in ODI scores and costs incurred at either year post-op.
CONCLUSION: Healthcare utilization decreased at one year and significantly at two years after lumbar fusion. However, there was no correlation between use of nonsurgical resources and clinical outcome based on ODI scores. This raises the question as to whether these resources were used in a rational manner. This cooperative study between a major insurer and a tertiary spine center provides improved insight into the cost profile of lumbar fusion surgery. Further study is needed to determine whether ongoing post-op treatment is necessary or simply established practice.

PMID: 26571169 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

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