Surgery linked to lower costs, mortality in spinal stenosis: study


Treating spinal stenosis with surgery instead of opting for conservative approaches is linked with lower two-year mortality rates and lower costs, according to a study in The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

The retrospective study looked at data from the  Medicare National Database Fee for Service Files betwen 2011 to 2017. More than 61,500 patients with spinal stenosis alone and more than 83,800 patients with spinal stenois and spondylolisthesis were evaluated.

Researchers found surgical treatment was associated with a 28 percent lower two-year mortality rate compared to nonsurgical treatment.

The study also found some cost benefits for those treating spinal stenosis surgically, according to a Jan. 13 news release from Wolsters Kluwer Health, which publishes The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery in partnership with the Lippincott portfolio. Patients who only had spinal stenosis saw average costs of $34,998 with a laminectomy compared to $59,071 without. However, costs were higher in patients who had a spinal fusion saw higher costs compared to nonoperative treatment.

Researchers concluded that surgical treatment for stenosis in the Medicare population was associated with lower mortality rates and payments, but "residual confounding could have contributed to these findings."

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