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The United States Department of Health & Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently published a report on complications associated with Spinal fusion surgery. The results may change the way many doctors and hospitals perform these procedures.

There are three ways approaches to spinal fusion; posterior, (PSF) anterior (ASF) and anterior/posterior APSF). Posterior spine fusions are approached from the patients back, while anterior spine surgery is approached from the persons front. During Anterior /posterior spine fusions the surgeon approaches from both sides.

The new study compares the likelihood of the patient to develop complications or die in the hospital from all three types of procedures. Researchers found that patients who undergo PSF are less likely to develop complications or die while in the hospital compared to those who undergo ASF or APSF.

PSF is already generally performed in older patients who are more at risk for complications. Most of the candidates for ASF or APSF are younger and suffer from less health problems. However, the complications rate for patients who underwent ASF and APSF were 18.7% and 23.8% respectively, while the complications rate for the slightly older more at risk group that underwent PSF was 15.7%. In addition, Patients who underwent ASF or APSF were almost twice as likely to die from these complications than those who underwent PSF.

If you are considering a spine fusion surgery, please be sure to talk to your doctor about all of your surgical options, as well as the potential risks and complications associated with each.

For more information on this study, please visit, the Agency for Health Research and Quality.

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