30K 'unnecessary' spine surgeries performed in 1st year of pandemic: study


Hospitals performed more than 100,000 "unnecessary" procedures on older Americans in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, including 30,094 spine surgeries, according to a May analysis published by the Lown Institute.

“You couldn't go into your local coffee shop, but hospitals brought people in for all kinds of unnecessary procedures," Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute, said in a May 17 news release. "The fact that a pandemic barely slowed things down shows just how deeply entrenched overuse is in American healthcare."

The healthcare think tank analyzed data from 1.3 million Medicare claims from January through December 2020 to determine the volume of eight procedures performed in American hospitals. Procedures and overuse criteria were based on the nonprofit's research on measurement of low-value care at hospitals.

The Lown Institute identified 106,474 unnecessary procedures performed from March to December 2020:

1. Stents for stable coronary disease: 45,176

2. Vertebroplasty for osteoporosis: 16,553

3. Hysterectomy for benign disease: 14,455

4. Spinal fusion for back pain: 13,541

5. Inferior vena cava filter: 9,595

6. Carotid endarterectomy: 3,667

7. Renal stent: 1,891

8. Knee arthroscopy: 1,596

Click here for more information on the analysis.

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