Spinal fusions: for medical necessity or greed?

Although spinal fusion surgery often immensely improves a patient’s quality of life, it’s also a big surgery with a long recovery and should be undertaken only after less intense options have been exhausted.  For example, the same benefit can sometimes be achieved with a decompression procedure without the need to fuse.

Unfortunately, some surgeons are driven by financial incentives offered with the fusion procedure, causing them to recommend it more frequently than it’s truly needed. By getting a second opinion before your spinal fusion, you’ll ensure you don’t undergo surgery you don’t truly need.

“Physicians already have an incentive to do surgery — Medicare and insurers pay them for each surgery they do,” he said. “We trust doctors to use their judgment. The question is: Does this particular type of business heighten the incentive to move an otherwise honest doctor in the direction of unnecessary surgery? The report suggests that it doesn’t.”

Take the time and read this article posted last week in The Washington Post. Let us know your thoughts…

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