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Spinal Fusion WSJ Article

Did The Wall Street Journal Write An Article About Medical Kick Backs From Spinal Device Manufacturers To Get You To Have Surgery?Yes, They Did.

Spinal Fusion WSJ article...On December 20, 2010 the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled, "Top Spine Surgeons Reap Royalties, Medicare Bounty"

There are two main thrusts to this article...

The first is that Surgeons are being bribed by device manufacturer's to do more back surgery...specifically spinal fusions which use their very expensive hardware...plates, rods and screws.

"conservative spine surgeons argue that a spinal fusion is appropriate only for a small number of conditions such as spinal instability, spinal fracture, or severe curvature of the spine known as scoliosis and that financial incentives have caused the procedure to become overused."

"the screws used to drill into bone, known as pedicle screws sell for $1,000 or $2,000 apiece, but cost less than $100.00 to make."

The Wall Street Journal article continues by saying, "Some recent studies have suggested poor outcomes for spinal fusion. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA in April (2010) found that Medicare patients with a condition called spinal stenosis who had more than two vertebrae fused, a procedure know as a complex fusion, were nearly three times more likely to have life-threatening complications than patients who had a less invasive procedure known as a decompression."

"Another study of workers' compensation cases published this year in the online edition of the journal Spine showed that patients who had a spinal fusion where much less likely to return to work within two years after their surgery than a group of patients with similar conditions who didn't have surgery, and that 27% of those who had surgery had to be re-operated on.

Their rate of permanent disability was more than 5 times as high as the patients whose spines weren't fused and their daily intake of powerful narcotic painkillers increased 41% after surgery.

The Study's lead authors, Trang Nguyen and David Randolph of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said magnetic resonance imaging scans of the spines of 8 of 725 patients who had a fusion "were perfectly normal," suggesting their surgeries were unnecessary."

Please look up this article for yourself...there is a lot more valuable information there.

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