Academic vs. private practice surgeons: 6 observations on surgical treatment variances for lower back pain


Researchers studied the various surgical treatments for lower back pain U.S. spine surgeons executed, based on a study published in Spine, according to Medscape.

The study identified the variances in "surgical treatment responses based on various demographic variables," and the "probability of disagreement based on surgeon subgroups," according to Medscape. Researchers surveyed 445 U.S. spine surgeons, presenting various clinical and radiographic case circumstances.


The surgical treatment options included:


• No surgery
• Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
• Posterolateral fusion with pedicle screws
• Transforaminal/posterior lumbar interbody fusion


Here are six observations:


1. The study found disagreement on how to treat lower back pain was strongest in the Southwest and weakest in the Midwest.


2. Those surgeons in academic settings expressed less disagreement than those surgeons in private practices.


3. The surgeons in academic settings had a four times greater likelihood of opting for no surgery than those in private practices.


4. Surgeons in private practice were most likely to select ALIF or PLIF/TLIF as treatment for lower back pain.


5. Of the surgeons surveyed, those with fellowship training were two times more likely to choose no surgery and four times more likely to choose ALIF compared to those without fellowship training.


6. The researchers concluded the variances in treating lower back pain root from geographic location, specialty, practice type and fellowship training.


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