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Pro athletes can resume careers after cervical spine fusion surgery, reports Neurosurgery
Date:7/18/2013

Philadelphia, Pa. (July 18, 2013) Most professional athletes are able to return to competition within a year after vertebral fusion surgery on the upper (cervical) spine, reports a study in the July issue of Neurosurgery, official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

Another study in the July Neurosurgery finds variations in treatment for patients with minor head injuries seen in the emergency department (ED) versus the doctor's office. A third paper discusses the increasing importance of philanthropic funding for neurosurgery research and program development.

When Can Pro Athletes Return to Play after Cervical Spinal Fusion?

Dr. Joseph C. Maroon of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and colleagues analyzed the treatment and outcomes of one type of cervical spinal fusion surgery, called anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), in 15 professional athletes. The study focused on criteria for making return-to-play (RTP) recommendations.

The patients were eight football players and seven wrestlers. All were cleared for RTP after they had a normal neurological examination and x-rays showing vertebral fusion. Thirteen players returned to their sport within two to twelve monthsthe average RTP time was six months. Eight athletes are still participating; five retired after competing for another one to three years.

"After a single-level ACDF, an athlete may return to contact sports if there are normal findings on a neurological examination, full range of neck movement, and arthrodesis," Dr. Maroon and coauthors write. They note that athletes undergoing ACDF may be at risk for futur
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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