For years, scientists and physicians worldwide have attempted to determine the long-term effectiveness of surgical and non-surgical therapies for chronic low back pain. A 2010 study measured patients’ outcomes after lumbar fusion surgery and cognitive intervention and exercises. The study compared the long-term effects after four years. While the study was quite extensive, many believed it to be unwarranted due to the unsubstantial time between treatment and recovery. In response to the controversial comparison, Anne Mannion, a researcher at the Spine Center in Zurich Switzerland, evaluated patients after 11 years of either lumbar fusion surgery or a form of multidisciplinary therapy and exercise. Mannion hoped to address the question of how the long-term outcomes compared and how patients could choose the right treatment option for their chronic pain problem. At American Spine, patients are encouraged to be educated in their treatment process and aware of the effectiveness of surgical and nonsurgical outcomes.
On March 15th Mannion spoke about the study and claimed the aim of the study was to compare “clinical outcomes at long-term follow-up of patients randomized to either surgery or multidisciplinary cognitive behavior therapy and exercise rehabilitation.” The 437 patients in the study all had chronic low back pain and could either rehab their condition or opt for fusion surgery. At the 11-year check up, patients reported how their pain and quality of life had changed. After 11 years, only 261 were present for their follow-up testing which was still acceptable for conclusive findings.
After scoring their outcomes based on the Oswestry Disability Index and pain levels, Mannion concluded that there were not any substantial differences between the two groups. At the British Association of Spine Surgeons meeting Mannion stated that the study proved that the long-term benefits from spinal surgery and nonsurgical treatments were essentially no different. Mannion further specified that “given the increased risks of surgery and the lack of deterioration in the non-operative patients over time, the use of lumbar fusion in chronic low back pain patients should be favored when programs of multidisciplinary rehabilitation are available.”
The physicians and medical staff at American Spine require the consent and interaction of every patient when designing a treatment plan. The study of surgical and nonsurgical outcomes better relays information to patients on whether they feel more comfortable choosing a plan that includes surgery or one that does not. To learn more about the treatment options that American Spine offers, call and schedule an appointment with one of our staff members.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
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