5 key notes on factors affecting cost of spine surgery for lumbar stenosis

Written by Laura Dyrda | February 27, 2018 | Print  | Email

A study published in The Spine Journal examines cost variation between patients with lumbar spinal stenosis.


Study authors examined data from 10,858 patients who were diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis at 18 practices associated with three hospitals. The patients were diagnosed between January 2003 and July 2015. Study authors found:


1. The factors associated with higher costs among patients diagnosed with spinal stenosis include:


• Male patients
• Seeing additional providers
• Multiple spinal diagnoses


2. Patients in the higher cost tier were more likely to have had a higher number of office visits and imaging procedures.


3. The highest cost patients underwent less physical therapy and less surgery when compared with patients in the middle-cost tier.


4. Of the 10,858 patients examined, 82 received decision aids during their care, and cost wasn't significantly different between those who received the decision aids and a matched group who didn't.


5. Study authors concluded, "The main targets for cost reduction we found are imaging procedures and the number of office visits."


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