NEUROSURGEONS ACKNOWLEDGE CONCERN OVER AGGRESSIVE SPINE SURGERY
An editorial article published in the journal, Surgical Neurology, this year acknowledges the concern over the rising number of patients who suffer from failed back surgery (FBS). Charles Burton, MD, Medical Director of the Center for Restorative Spinal Surgery in St. Paul, Minnesota starts the article off by stating that "spine-related health problems continually represent the single greatest inefficiency in the American health care system". In the article he directs his surgical colleagues to be more conservative when choosing patients for surgery.
In his article Dr. Burton refers to the April 2006 issue of Surgical Neurology where editor and neurosurgeon, Dr. James Ausman, stated that we need to get our priorities straight regarding the unhealthy state of spine surgery in the United States today, particularly in regard to pedicle screw and rod fusions for the treatment of low back unassociated with neurological impairment. There is a push to look for effective and more conservative alternatives to treat low back pain.
Dr Burton suggests achieving a solution through "creating better informed patients". The American Academy of Spine Physicians (AASP) has stepped up to the plate to help accomplish this goal. The AASP is dedicated to informing physicians, patients and the public about conservative non-surgical and surgical options in spinecare. The AASP will use many different resources to accomplish this including physician continuing education programs, publications and the online Public Information Center (PIC). The AASP hosts the National Directory of Spine Physicians, a directory of chiropractic physicians and neurosurgeons who have acknowledged their commitment to conservative and cooperative spinecare. Interdisciplinary cooperation will lead to more conservative intervention and better therapeutic outcome.