Chronic Back Pain in America:
Survey Results

Spine Surgery Recommendations

Surgical procedures recommended, how patients perceive surgeons

Upwards of 311 patients responded to questions about spine surgery recommendations in the Chronic Back Pain in America 2013 Survey. The results indicate the type of spine specialist making a surgical recommendation and whether the surgery was deemed necessary to revise a previous spinal procedure. The results are presented by level of the spine: cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar/sacral (low and lower back).

What type of specialist recommended spine surgery?

Types of Specialists Cervical
(n=124)
Thoracic
(n=45)

Lumbar/
Sacral
(n=311)

Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon 31% 24% 35%
Orthopaedic Surgeon 13% 24% 17%
Neurosurgeon 47% 30% 35%
Pain Medicine Specialist 7% 11% 9%

Was surgery recommended to revised a previous spine surgery?

  Cervical
(n=124)
Thoracic
(n=45)
Lumbar/
Sacral
(n=311)
Yes 21% 16% 30%
No 79% 84% 70%

Please note: the number of patients responding to the following questions varies.

Did you obtain a second opinion? Cervical
(n=124)
Thoracic
(n=23)
Lumbar/
Sacral
(n=185)
Yes 44% 30% 44%
No 56% 70% 56%

Did your surgeon involve you in decision-making? Cervical
(n=81)
Thoracic
(n=21)
Lumbar/
Sacral
(n=185)
Yes 67% 76% 69%
No 33% 24% 31%


Cervical Spine Surgery
The three most common procedures recommended (alone or in combination) were indicated by 86 patients with chronic neck pain.

  • 73% = discectomy with fusion
  • 12% = traction with instrumentation and fusion
  • 29% = laminectomy with fusion

Surgical Approaches

  • 65% = anterior approach (from the front of the neck)
  • 22% = posterior approach (from the back of the neck)
  • 21% = minimally invasive
  • 20% = open procedure

Thoracic Spine Surgery
The three most common procedures recommended (alone or in combination) were indicated by 23 patients with chronic mid-back pain.

  • 52% = discectomy with fusion
  • 35% = laminectomy with fusion
  • 22% = scoliosis surgery with instrumentation and fusion

Surgical Approaches

  • 61% = open procedure
  • 48% = posterior approach
  • 17% = minimally invasive
  • 13% = anterior approach
  • 13% = thoracotomy

Lumbar/Sacral Spine Surgery
Other (n=185) lumbar/sacral procedures recommended included sacroiliac joint fixation (4%), scoliosis surgery with instrumentation and fusion (5%), spinous process fixation (2%), trans sacral (1%), and Xtreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) (5%).

  • 39% = discectomy with fusion
  • 34% = laminectomy with fusion
  • 27% = Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
  • 21% = Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
  • 11% = Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF)

Surgical Approaches

  • 45% = open procedure
  • 27% = minimally invasive

How patients' perceived the attitudes of surgeons and their staffs. More than half of the patients who responded to this question indicated they felt their surgeon was sincere.

Attitude Surgeon Medical Staff Office Staff
Sincerity 59% 48% 43%
Compassion 48% 40% 35%
Understanding 44% 44% 38%
Caring 42% 40% 36%
Serious 35% 21% 20%
Rushed 8% 10% 9%
Dismissive 7% 4% 6%
Not Interested 2% 4% 5%

 

Updated on: 03/05/14
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Spine Surgery and Patient Satisfaction
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Spine Surgery and Patient Satisfaction

Patients who participated in the Chronic Back Pain in America 2013 Survey indicated that spine surgery was most commonly performed in a hospital operating room (91%). Presented here are additional survey results that include surgical complications, type and severity of post-operative pain, days hospitalized, where and when rehab started, and patient satisfaction with their spine surgery.
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