Surgeon Preference, Location Largely Influences Surgery Rate for Back Pain

Written by  Heather Linder | Friday, 14 December 2012 20:03
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Researchers at Dartmouth Atlas, in conjunction with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, looked at Medicare patients nationwide and found discrepancies in the prescribing of elective surgery, including spine procedures.
Physician preference and geographical location largely determine who does and does not receive surgical treatment for their condition, according to the report.

The average rate of spine surgery to treat acute low back pain was 4.7 per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Casper, Wyo., had the highest rate, with 10.1 surgeries per 1,000 patients. Honolulu had one of the lowest rates, with 1.5 surgeries per 1,000.

The New England region also had substantially less surgeries prescribed than Northwest.

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