Study finds surgery more effective than conventional treatment for spinal stenosis


A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that spine surgery may be more effective than conventional medical treatment for spinal stenosis. 

The study, published Feb. 1, was conducted by the Health Data Analytics Institute, Raymond Hwang, MD, and Scott Tromanhauser, MD, of the New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. Using data and predictive analytics, researchers compared patients who received operative and nonoperative treatment for spinal stenosis and found surgery was associated with lower mortality and costs over two years. 

The study found a 28 percent reduction in two-year mortality in patients with surgical treatment versus patients without. And while nonsurgical spinal stenosis often costs $59,071 over a two-year Medicare payment period, surgical options cost $34,998. 

Limitations of the study include the possible effects of unrecognized confounding factors. 

"Frankly, we were surprised ourselves by what we found," Dr. Tromanhauser said in a Feb. 22 news release from the Health Data Analytics Institute. "This work demonstrates the power of large, national data sets and sophisticated analytic methodologies to provide better understanding of the longer-term impact of the care we provide to our patients." 

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