Healthcare systems could be strained by growing demand for spinal fusion cases, according to a study published in Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research — a Wolters Kluwer publication.
Vincent Heck, MD, a surgeon in Cologne, Germany, and his team evaluated nationwide data from the German Federal Statistical Office to estimate spinal fusion rates as functions of calendar year, age and gender. They estimated the use of posterior spinal fusion will grow 83 percent by 2060.
Rates for spinal fusion patients 75 and older is expected to soar 246 percent for women and 296 percent for men. Meanwhile, rates are expected to stay the same or dip for patients younger than 55.
The study concluded: "Our findings suggest that increasing use of posterior spinal fusion, particularly in patients 75 years and older, will challenge healthcare systems worldwide if current trends persist. This study may serve as a model for many other industrialized countries facing similar demographic and procedure-specific developments in the future. This emphasizes the need to focus on frailty research as well as appropriate financial and human resource management. Effective perioperative medical management, multidisciplinary treatment, and interinstitutional protocols are warranted, especially in older patients as we attempt to manage these trends in the future."