Regular readers of this blog understand that back problems are not only common, but commonly misdiagnosed, overdiagnosed and overtreated. And that some practitioners are less than ethical in treating back issues (see our blog, “The Going Rate for Compromising a Surgeon’s Principles and Patient Safety: $16 Million.”)
A recent investigative story in the Washington Post, “Spinal Fusions Serve as Case Study for Debate Over When Certain Surgeries Are Necessary,” shows how about half the huge increase in spinal fusion surgeries in only one state, Florida, involved patients with diagnoses that experts and professional societies say should not routinely be treated with that procedure.
As The Post reports, more than 465,000 spinal fusions were performed in the U.S. in 2011, and there’s plenty of reason to conclude that Florida isn’t alone in using a procedure that’s ill-advised in maybe as many as half of all cases.
To learn more about back treatments, see our newsletter, “Better Care for Your Aching Back,” here.