Pain in the lower back and neck affects most people at some time during their lives. In most cases, the symptoms quite rapidly passing – within a few days to a few weeks. A few have problems with long-term, more or less difficult and restrictive function aches. Pain in the lower back or neck is more often an expression of a serious illness.
The problems and pains in the back that leads to surgery is usually due to degenerative conditions. In Sweden, was carried out almost 16,000 surgical operations back in 2011. The most common diagnoses were stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) and herniated discs, which together accounted for over 70% of all diagnoses that led to surgery. The most common surgical procedures are discectomy for a herniated disc which involves surgical removal of the herniation, decompression which is a widening of the spinal canal and fusion (arthrodesis) to lock one or more vertebrae. In most cases, the operations aimed to ease the pressure, decrease the nerves and stabilize the spine.
Challenges in Spine Surgery
There are a number of underlying diseases that cause spinal surgery. This leads to a diverse population of patients with different conditions for a successful outcome of the surgical procedure. Data from the Swedish spine surgical records shows that there is a variation between health care providers with respect to patient-reported outcomes and patient composition (ie casemix). What type of patients that have the best conditions for a successful outcome of surgery is therefore important to study – both with respect to the actual health outcomes and social costs. It is also important to create conditions to be able to monitor and compare the quality of care in as fair a way as possible by taking into account differences in patient composition between different health care providers. It is also important how health outcomes reported in public comparisons to facilitate patients’ informed choice of healthcare providers. Care processes need to be defined and the importance of the postoperative outpatient rehabilitation with physiotherapy for health outcomes, needs to be monitored and evaluated.