Lumbar Spine Surgery Results
Written by Craig Benton, DC   
Thursday, May 29, 2014 12:00 PM

Here is some research on the rates of reoperation of lumbar spine surgery patients.


Reoperation rates are higher for fusion than discectomy. Fusion is 18.6% and discectomy is 13.4%


This one does not talk about what types of surgeries, but I noticed variations among doctors and hospitals with a four year resurgery average of 13.2% with a range of 10.0 to 19.3%


This study shows a mortality rate of 1.93% following a 3 year follow up of lumbar surgery:


This one is pretty interesting.  In the late 1990’s a new fusion procedure was introduced to surgeons called a “cage fusion”  It was a new type of hardware that began to be used and the costs for the surgery went up significantly using this procedure.  It also found the disability was no better following this surgery and the rate of reoperation 14.0% higher than just a bone fusion.  This study stated using the cage fusion the patient was 40% more likely to have to have another lower back operation.


This study showed resurgery rates of 21.5% for fusion and 18.8% for decompression.


This is an older study for 1998 and it states that again fusion rates had more failures than decompression,  18% vs 7%.


This one used data from Workers Compensation Cases lumbar fusion cases in the State of Washington.  It has a ton of information.  64% had a disability following lumbar fusion, 22% reoperation rate, and almost a 12% complication rate.


So this is some of the research that the medical profession has done on themselves.  I wonder how many patients know this information before they undergo a surgical spine procedure.