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Survey shows spine surgeons need to screen more patients for anxiety and depression
Date:4/1/2014

dy should serve as an important reminder to all clinicians to adopt presurgical psychological screening guidelines, and to establish protocols to ensure they are followed," he adds, Skolasky, who directs the Johns Hopkins Spine Outcomes Research Center and is an associate professor in orthopedic surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says, "Ideally, patients should also be asking their surgeons for such assessments prior to surgery as part of their own personal presurgical checklist."

For the survey, conducted from December 2010 to January 2011, Skolasky's team e-mailed a 20-minute questionnaire to 340 licensed spine surgeons across the country. Some 110, mostly men, responded. Almost half had more than 15 years of experience, and just over half were based at university hospitals.

Among other key findings was that highly experienced spine surgeons were more likely to use the assessment tools than those with less than 15 years of experience in the field. Orthopedic and neurosurgeons with a higher volume of patients, more than 200 a year, also favored the screening compared to colleagues who performed fewer procedures.

Researchers say they were surprised to discover that spine surgeons in private practice or in community hospitals carried out more psychological screening tests than their counterparts in larger, university-affiliated hospitals.

Skolasky says that this is counterintuitive academic medical centers have ready access to psychologists and other testing resources that community hospitals usually lack. He says some surgeons may view psychological screening as an unnecessary surgical delay, during which time a patient's condition can deteriorate quickly, or surgeons simply may not be well-enough aware of the important role played by mental health in postsurgical recovery.

Ultimately, Skolasky says, it all comes down to training, understanding why surgeons don't use the recommended screening tes
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Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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