Workers’ Comp Study: Lumbar Fusion Surgery Fails 74% of the Time

Did you know that the annual number of spinal fusion operations in the U.S. increased more than 75 percent between 1996 and 2001?  But “failed back sugary syndrome” is still a common problem, with enormous costs to patients, insurers, and society.

According to a study published in Spine last year, spinal fusion surgeries often backfire, failing an astonishing 74 percent of the time!

Researchers looked at 1,450 workers’ compensation patients who had diagnosis of disc herniation, radiculopathy, or disc degeneration.  Half of the patients had fusion surgery in hopes of curing low back pain.  The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable diagnoses.  The results were as follows:

  • Two year after fusion surgery, 26 percent of union cases had returned to work, while 67 percent of nonsurgical controls had returned to work within town years from date of injury
  • The re-operation rate was 27 percent for surgical patients
  • Of the lumbar fusion subjects, 36 percent had complications
  • Permanent disability rates were 11 percent for surgery case and 2 percent for nonoperative controls
  • For lumbar fusion subjects, daily opioid use increased 41 percent after surgery, with 76 percent of cases continuing opioid use after surgery
  • Total number of days off work was more prolonged for surgical cases compared to nonoperative controls, 1140 and 316 days, respectively

From the study’s conclusion:  “Lumbar fusion for the diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation, and/or radiculopathy in a WC setting is associated with significant increase in disability, opiate use, prolonged work loss, and poor RTW(Return to Work) status.”

Source: Long-term Outcomes of Lumbar Fusion Among Workers’ Compensation Subjects: An Historical Cohort Study, Spine: 15 February 2011-Vol 36-Issue 4-p 313-3

(MAC Journal-May/June 2012)

Top Five Weight Loss Diet Myths

It is estimated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that 35.7 percent of American are classified as OBESE.  As the American obesity epidemic appears to be growing exponentially, it is becoming evident that not everything written about weight loss is true.  Many misleading claims and false information has led many men and women to become discouraged and give up on their weight loss goals altogether.

Upon the realization that there are many conflicting ideas about losing weight, Weight Loss Guide has set out to ascertain the truth about weight loss from the the abidance of myths and exaggerations.  Below are the top 5 myths to that you should know when it comes to “dieting:”

1. Fast weight loss is possible with starvation diets: Very-low calorie diets are unhealthy and may damage the metabolism. When a person is consuming too few calories, the body enters into hibernation mode and will attempt to store body fat rather than burn it.

2. The only way to lose weight is with a weight Loss diet and exercise: While eating a healthy diet and getting exercise is always recommended, diet pills and other weight loss products can promote weight loss on their own. Taking a fat burner, carb-blocker, or metabolism booster can help users lose weight without diet or exercise. (this option should be a last resort and always check with a medical professional before taking any supplements)

3. Everyone should eat about 2,000 calories per day: The number of calories one should eat per day is dependent on a number of factors. Age, gender, weight, height, and activity level all contribute to one’s required daily calorie intake.

4. Salad is always a healthy meal option: Salad is often combined with cheese, croutons, dried fruit, and high calorie dressing. When these types of items are added in, one salad can add up to 1,000 calories or more. This means choosing a salad may result in a higher calorie intake than a cheeseburger.

5. Vegetarian diets always promote weight loss:Eating a vegetarian diet does not always encourage weight loss. Vegetarian diets are often high in sugar, calories, and carbohydrates.