Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Back surgery--be cautious


Jillian Mincer, WSJ, Feb 15, 20011, says more patients are having complicated spinal stenosis surgery.

Spinal stenosis is when bone spurs grow into the spinal canal, crowding nerves and causing constant pain.

Ouch.

The problem is that the surgeries to remove the spurs are now often being combined with fusion of the vertebrae and other surgeries. This is fine if these are needed.

But otherwise it raises cost and chances of complications.

Usually the doctor will try anti-inflammatories and steroid injections first.

The combined surgeries, of course, pay the doctor and hospital more under Medicare.

One doctor said finances played a role. Another said it was the surgeon’s preferences at work.

Ask! Get answers. You know what Auntie Star always says.

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