Risk of Unsatisfactory Spine Surgery Outcome Up With Workers' Comp

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Patients undergoing spine surgery with WC have increased risk of an unsatisfactory outcome.
Patients undergoing spine surgery with WC have increased risk of an unsatisfactory outcome.

HealthDay News -- Patients undergoing spine surgery with workers' compensation (WC) have increased risk of an unsatisfactory outcome, according to a meta-analysis published in the Spine Journal.

Thomas Cheriyan, MD, from the New York Langone Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues examined the correlation of unsatisfactory outcomes on compensation status in spine surgery patients. Data were included from 31 studies (13 prospective, 18 retrospective), with a total of 3567 patients. The studies compared outcomes between compensated and non-compensated patients in spine surgery.

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The researchers found that the overall risk ratio of an unsatisfactory outcome was 2.12 (P < 0.001) in patients with versus those without WC after surgery. The risk ratio of an unsatisfactory outcome in patients with WC was 2.09 in studies from Europe and Australia and 2.14 in studies from the United States (both P < 0.01). The risk ratios of decompression-only procedures and fusion procedures were 2.53 and 1.79, respectively (both P < 0.01). Forty-three and 17% of patients with WC and without WC, respectively, did not return to work (risk ratio, 2.07; P < 0.001).

"Workers' compensation patients have a two-fold increased risk of an unsatisfactory outcome compared with non-compensated patients after surgery," the authors write. "This association was consistent when studies were grouped by country or procedure. Compensation status must be considered in all surgical intervention studies."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device and medical technology industries.

Reference

Cheriyan T, Harris B, Cheriyan J et al. Association between compensation status and outcomes in spine surgery: a meta-analysis of 31 studies. Spine J. 2015;15(12):2564-2573. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2015.09.033.

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