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Back surgery offers long-term societal benefits, according to new study

Date:
March 12, 2014
Source:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Summary:
A new study uncovered that the estimated average annual earnings of working patients who undergo surgery are $47,619, compared to $45,694 for those with non-surgical treatments. Therefore, the annual earnings are increased by $1,925 for those patients receiving surgery. Additionally, patients who undergo surgery miss three fewer days of work each year as compared to patients who elect for nonsurgical treatment.

Back pain is a significant problem in America. In 2010, more than 10 million people experienced back pain. More than 200,000 of these patients are diagnosed with a herniated disc. Employees who experience back pain miss an average of 26 days of work and spend nearly 34 days in bed each year. While at work, back pain can affect productivity.

Past research has found herniated disc surgery to be an effective treatment option to ease the extreme back pain associated with herniation of a disc. However, until now, none of these studies accounted for lost productivity in the workplace. A new study, commissioned by AAOS and conducted by health economists, found surgery to be a cost-effective option for patients who used it, particularly because of its effect on productivity.

For example, terrible back pain following an injury on the field limited lacrosse coach Scott Hiller from coaching, and even made it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as walking around the house and holding his children. After trying non-operative treatments, Scott underwent disc herniation repair surgery and now is able to live a life without pain due to a herniated disc.

The study showed surgery can result in higher wages and, after recoverying from surgery, fewer missed workdays due to back pain. Specifically, patients receiving surgery earn an average of nearly $2,000 more and miss three fewer days per year than those who choose non-surgical treatments. Over a four-year period, those extra earnings average more than $7,000.

Furthermore, the study authors found these surgeries may result in savings to society when patients are relieved of their back pain over the long term.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lane Koenig, Timothy M. Dall, Qian Gu, Josh Saavoss, Michael F. Schafer. How Does Accounting for Worker Productivity Affect the Measured Cost-Effectiveness of Lumbar Discectomy? Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Researchฎ, 2014; 472 (4): 1069 DOI: 10.1007/s11999-013-3440-6

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Back surgery offers long-term societal benefits, according to new study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082749.htm>.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2014, March 12). Back surgery offers long-term societal benefits, according to new study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082749.htm
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. "Back surgery offers long-term societal benefits, according to new study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140312082749.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

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