5 key notes on spinal fusion for workers' compensation patients


A new study published in Spine examines workers compensation patients who undergo multilevel cervical fusion.

The study authors examined data on cervical comorbidities from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation for work-related injuries, including people who underwent multilevel cervical fusion. The study authors found:


1. The factors negatively affecting return to work within three years of fusion were:


• Degenerative disc disease
• Age older than 55 years
• Preoperative opioid use
• Psychological evaluation before surgery
• Instrumentation

2. Patients who underwent multilevel fusion for DDD reported lower rates of return to work status, and when compared with patients who underwent fusion for radiculopathy.


3. One year after surgery, the DDD patients were less likely to have stable return to work status.


4. Patients in the DDD group were associated with higher disability rates and opioid use after surgery.


5. The study authors concluded multilevel cervical fusion for DDD "may be counterproductive."


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