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Surgeon experience affects complication rate of spinal stenosis surgery
Date:6/6/2012

Philadelphia, Pa. (June 7, 2012) - For patients undergoing surgery for spinal stenosis, the risk of complications is higher when the surgeon performs very few such proceduresless than four per year, suggests a study in the June 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.

In contrast, the complication rate is not significantly affected by the volume of spinal stenosis surgeries performed at the hospital, according to the new research. The senior author was Dr. Ali Bydon of Johns Hopkins Unviersity.

'Very Low' Volume Surgeons Have Higher Complication Rates

Using a large database of hospitalized patients, the researchers analyzed outcomes in nearly 49,000 patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosisnarrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back. Rates of complications and in-hospital death were compared for surgeons and hospitals with different "volumes" of surgery for spinal stenosis from 2005 through 2008.

The volume of spinal stenosis surgeries by each surgeon was categorized from "very low" (less than 15 operations over four years) to "very high" (more than 81 procedures in four years). Hospital volume ranged from less than 68 to more than 394. These categories were compared with the risk of complications and death, with adjustment for other factors.

Complication rate ranged from 11.6 percent for patients operated on by surgeons with a very low volume of spinal stenosis surgeries to 8.6 percent for surgeons who performed a very high volume of procedures. On adjusted analysis, the risk was 38 percent higher for surgeons in the very low volume category, compared to the very high volume category. Risk was not sig
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Contact: Connie Hughes
Connie.Hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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