News Category: General Spine


Treatment Outcomes in Osteoporotic Compression Fractures: Brace or No-Brace?

Non-operative treatment is usually the first line of treatment for benign compression fractures of osteoporotic vertebrae without neurological injury. These fractures are relatively stable secondary to the nature of the injury occurring from a compressional load versus involving shearing or rotational components. Typically this non-operative treatment has included the use […]


Cost-Effectiveness of Minimal Access Versus Conventional Spine Surgery

Surgical techniques for the cervical and lumbar spine can be separated into two categories based on amount of tissue disruption. Minimal access surgery (MAS) is reported to have better short term perioperative results as it utilizes small incisions and minimal muscle disruption. This technique involves use of a tube or […]


Benefit of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Spinal Fusion

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) (also known as blood injection therapy) is a medical treatment being used for a wide range of musculoskeletal problems. Platelet-rich plasma refers to a sample of serum (blood) plasma that has as much as four times more than the normal amount of platelets and growth factors. This […]


Cost of Spinal Disorders

Researchers from Australia are trying to pinpoint the indirect costs associated with spinal disorders in the work place. In this study, they evaluated the cost (in dollars) of retirement among workers between the ages of 45 and 64 (Baby Boomers). Each worker reported leaving work permanently due to spinal disorders […]


Do Metal Implants in the Spine Set Off Airport Security?

Anyone with a joint replacement knows to carry a special letter from the doctor when traveling through airport security. Even with the documentation, travelers with implants can expect delays while security measures are applied. But what about metal implants in the spine? Are they deep enough and/or surrounded by enough […]


Safety Concerns with Bone Graft for Spinal Surgery

This study concerns the safety of bone morphogenetic protein (called BMP) in spinal fusions. BMP is a naturally occurring protein that scientists have discovered can be a replacement for bone grafts. But inappropriate use of this product has resulted in some adverse effects that have only been reported after the […]


Combat-Related Spine Trauma in the War on Terror

Most Americans are aware that the war on terror continues on the battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq. Blast munitions meant to rip through armored vehicles during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom continue to cause serious injuries among our military warriors. Military physicians are studying the types and effects of […]


First Report Comparing Spine Injuries During War on Terror

This is the first report published comparing penetrating with blunt spine injuries in U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan and Iraq. High-velocity gunshot or shrapnel injuries to the spine entered into the Joint Theater Trauma Registry (JTTR) were included. Records were reviewed to find out more information such as demographics on the […]


BMP is NOT Safe for All Fusion Patients

Since 2002 surgeons have had a special tool in their box of techniques for spinal fusion. And that is a substitute for bone graft called bone morphogenetic protein or BMP. Although more expensive, this product has two major advantages over bone taken from the patient: 1) patients no longer suffer […]


Neck and Back Pain: How Much Is It Costing Us?

Public health policies are influenced by the kinds of health problems Americans report. Evidence from research is a second driving factor in how common conditions like neck and back pain are treated. One way to reduce medical costs is to analyze where money is being spent and look for trends […]


Rare But Important Risk After Spine Surgery

If you have ever had surgery of any kind or even known someone else getting ready for surgery, one thing is always discussed preoperatively. And that’s the possible complications. Though most post-op problems are uncommon or even rare, it is still the responsibility of the health care provider to review […]


Returning to the Operating Room After Spinal Surgery

It’s an unfortunate fact that patients can end up back in the hospital after spinal surgery. Sometimes there’s an infection that must be taken care of. In other cases, implants used to hold the spine together during the healing/fusion phase have to be revised. Medical complications such as blood clots, […]


The Cost Of Other Health Problems After Spinal Surgery

Many people in need of spinal surgery also suffer from other health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, neurologic problems and many others. These additional conditions are referred to as comorbidities. Patients often have more than one comorbidity. And then there are the complications that can occur […]


Making the Decision About Spinal Surgery Based on Risk for Complications

Surgeons don’t perform spinal surgery on just anyone without a strong chance that the procedure will help the patient. Possible complications are always considered ahead of time. And if a patient has too many risks, surgery may not be advised. In this study, surgeons from the University of Washington in […]


New Scoring System to Predict Need for Multiple Surgeries for Spinal Infection

Six reliable factors have been identified as the most accurate predictors of the need for multiple “clean up” surgeries for surgical site infections following spine surgery. By “clean up” surgery, we mean the procedure called irrigation and debridement, a way to remove infection and cleanse the wound. Surgical site infections […]


The Effect of Extreme Obesity on Spinal Fusions

Back pain is no stranger in the adult world. Being overweight is a definite risk factor for back pain associated with spinal degeneration. Surgery in the form of spinal fusion may benefit obese patients but is also linked with higher complication rates. In this study from California, researchers look at […]


Canadian Study Reveals True Measure of Problems After Spine Surgery

No one doubts that complex spinal surgeries come with a whole host of potential complications and post-operative problems. But the true measure of how often this happens and how serious the problems may be haven’t been really reported until now. Most of the data published comes from hospital-based administrative databases. […]


Recent Explosive Growth Seen in Number of Spinal Procedures

Spinal steroid injections, nerve blocks, sacroiliac joint injections, and heat treatments to kill nerve endings have reached explosive numbers according to this report. In a 12-month period of time almost one million of these interventionalprocedures were done on 200,000 patients. The patient database used for this study only included privately […]


Patterns of Use of Spinal Injections Among Privately Insured Patients

Studies have shown that Medicare and VA (Veterans Administration) patients receive a large number of spinal injection procedures. The report of this pattern of overutilization of spinal injections set this new study into motion. Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine looked for similar patterns of overutilization among […]