Becker's Spine Review—December 24, 2012
3. Dealing with regional differences in spine care. The perception of too much spine surgery has been propagated by several sources, including statistics showing rates of spine surgery are higher in some parts of the country than others. Frank Cammisa, MD, is chief of spine service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. He said there are several factors contributing to this difference, including:
• How quickly new procedures are introduced
• When spine surgeons are willing to adopt new procedures
• Demographics — percentage of the population who are likely candidates for spine surgery
"It may be that one area is treating spinal conditions more aggressively, but another area might not have the resources available to perform the same procedures on their patients," Dr. Cammisa said. "There may be just as many patients needing surgery in both areas in terms of population percentage, but the care isn't as advanced. From the statistics, it's hard to tell whether surgery is being overused or underused in different regions of the country."
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