Early spine surgery for workers comp patients saves $37k per episode: 5 things to know

Written by Laura Dyrda | December 27, 2017 | Print  |

A new study published in Clinical Spine Surgery examines how surgery timing can affect workers compensation patients.


Study authors examined 227 workers compensation patients in Ohio who underwent spine surgery for degenerative lumbar stenosis from 1993 to 2013. The patients either received an operative decompression prior to or after one year of symptoms; the cohort that returned to work did so within two years and remained for at least six months.


Study authors found:


1. Half of the patients who underwent decompression prior to experiencing symptoms for one year returned to work, compared to 30 percent of patients who had surgery after more than one year of symptoms.


2. A logical regression model showed time to surgery was a significant negative predictor of return to work status.


3. The patients who underwent surgery early cost the system an average of $37,332 less than patients who underwent surgery after more than a year of symptoms.


4. Three-year medical costs for early surgery patients was $13,299 less than late surgery patients.


5. Study authors concluded, "The results presented can perhaps be used to guide surgical decision-making and provide predictive value for the WC population."


More articles on spine surgery:
ASCs reduce spine surgery produce time, SSI risk—4 insights
10-year outcomes for lumbar total disc replacement: 4 things to know
How age affects 30-day complications for adult spinal deformity

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