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Return to work more likely with less-invasive back surgery: Study

Return to work more likely with less-invasive back surgery: Study

Less-invasive back surgery to correct spinal degeneration in injured workers improves the odds of return to work within two years, according to a new study published in July’s Spine medical journal.

The study examined 364 workers compensation patients diagnosed with degenerative spinal stenosis within the Ohio workers compensation database. Of them, workers either underwent primary decompression — a surgical procedure to alleviate pain caused by pinched nerves — or the more-invasive, more-expensive fusion surgery — a procedure to join, or fuse, two or more vertebrae.

The study found that decompression-only patients reported a higher return to work rate at 36%, compared with 25% in the group that underwent fusion, a lengthy surgery that was found to be a negative predictor of return-to-work status.

The study examined data between 1993 and 2013 and classified return to work as an injured worker going back to work within two years of their injury. 



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