SPINAL FUSION SURGERY – May put elderly patients at RISK

NATIONAL – Spinal fusion surgery may put elderly patients at risk.  According to a new survey, risky spinal fusion surgeries are increasingly being performed on elderly patient.  The spinal fusion surgeries, which often use devices made by Medtronic Inc. and Zimmer Holdings Inc., often lead to life-threatening complications in these patients.

One facet of this study looked at the rate of spinal surgery and its complications and cost in a large group of Medicare patients.

The study also uncovered that spinal fusion patients showed a doubled rate of life- threatening complications, 5.6 percent, compared with a simpler back surgery called decompression. The more complicated surgery generated average hospital charges of $80,888 compared with an average of $23,724 for the simpler operation.
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