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Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

Spinal Fusion Surgery Overused

By November 17, 2013

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A report in the Washington Post is raising questions about the medical necessity of many spinal fusion surgeries.  The report highlights a single neurosurgeon, who had his spine fusion surgeries audited.  While internal audits from the hospital found no problems with the rationale for surgery, an external review found that only 1 of the 10 was a necessary surgical procedure.

Spinal fusion surgery is a major surgical procedure with significant risks for the patient to consider.  National studies have estimated that up to half of spine fusion surgeries are probably not necessary.  Have you had a spine fusion?  Were you told it was mandatory by your surgeon?  Leave your comments below...

February 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm
(1) Glenda says:

I have had 5 back surgeries. 2 lamanectomys, 2 harware repalcements and last a fusion in my lower back. I was involved in a car accident and was told that I had blown a disc. I was then told that I blew a disc above the blown out one. When that failed to relieve my pain, I was then told I needed hardware. I fell the next winter on ice and needed a larger hardware replacement. Then I was involved in another car accident and hit in the rear. That is when the fusion came in. L4 L5 area. I am still in pain everyday and somewhat controlling it with pain pills. I wish there was a better way but I am very afraid of another surgery….. This all took place between 2005 and 2011

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