AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 4, 2019

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Patient Factors Explain Most of the Variation in Function After Lower Spinal Fusion

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Patient-reported functional outcomes vary considerably after lower (lumbar) spinal fusion surgery. But the variability mainly reflects patient characteristics, rather than differences in care provided by surgeons or hospitals, suggests a study.

“Variations in patient-reported outcomes [PROs] across hospitals and surgeons were mainly driven by differences in patient populations undergoing lumbar fusion, suggesting that PROs may not be useful indicators of hospital or surgeon quality,” according to the report by David R. Flum, MD, MPH, of University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues.

For Most Patients, No Major Impact of Surgeon and Hospital on Spinal Fusion Outcomes

The researchers analyzed variations in PROs among 737 patients (average age 63 years, 60 percent women) who underwent spinal fusion surgery between 2012 and 2018. 

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