New research from SPINE shows a 15% cumulative adjacent segment disease rate for patients undergoing posterior lumbar spinal fusions. Adjacent segment disease is the accelerated degenerative patter often found in the "healthy" vertebrae either above or below a fusion site. This process and diagnosis can often lead to more surgery.
Fusions which have an "anchor" site at L5-S1 (the lowest segments of the low back) tend to have slightly less adjacent segment disease than "floating" fusions without the anchor site. Also, it is important to note that they found over 40% of patients experienced continued or recurrent back pain, and over 28% experienced continued or recurrent radiculopathy. These are just a few reasons why it is imperative to exhaust every conservative care option prior to surgical intervention.
J Neurosurg Spine. 2014; doi: 10.3171/2013.12.SPINE13789
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