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Compensation Influences Lumbar Spinal Fusion Outcomes

Last Updated: October 26, 2012.

The type of compensation status (workers' compensation versus disability compensation) influences patient outcomes following lumbar spinal fusion, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in Spine.

FRIDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The type of compensation status (workers' compensation versus disability compensation) influences patient outcomes following lumbar spinal fusion, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in Spine.

Jeffrey L. Gum, M.D., from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and colleagues conducted a propensity-matched case control study in which data from 51 patients 50 years or younger receiving disability compensation and 37 patients receiving workers' compensation were analyzed. Oswestry Disability Index, Short Form-36, and numeric rating scales for back and leg pain following one- or two-level posterolateral lumbar fusion were assessed.

The researchers found that, at two years of follow-up, the disability compensation group showed similar degrees of improvement for all outcome measures compared with its matched non-disability cohort. Meanwhile, the workers' compensation group demonstrated less improvement than its matched cohort.

"This study demonstrates a difference in outcomes after lumbar spinal fusion between long-term disability and workers' compensation populations," the authors write. "Although these populations only achieve marginal improvement, it appears that the type of compensation status influences outcome."

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