Orthopedic & Wellness Center Blog

How Age Affects Spine Surgery Outcomes

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Blog Snapshot:

  • Patients of American Spine often wonder what to expect after their spine or orthopedic surgery.
  • It should come as no surprise that older patients often experience complications more often than younger patients.
  • A recent study published by Spine and Becker’s Spine Review uncovered how age affects spine surgery outcomes. In this blog, the team at American Spine explains results from the study.
A new study published in Spine examined how people of different ages can be affected by treatment (surgery) for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM), a condition that causes discs and facet joints in the spine to compress the spinal cord. For this condition, surgical intervention is often recommended most to not only relieve symptoms, but to also prevent CSM from progressing. Interventional pain care may be suggested for very mild cases of CSM, but over time, the condition will worsen, so it’s best to see a spine surgeon for treatment.
 
Patients with moderate to severe neurological changes are considered candidates for minimally invasive spine surgery. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, please call American Spine immediately; especially if you’re beginning to experience weakness in the arms or legs, numbness in the hands, loss of fine motor skills, balance, and coordination, or the development of a steppage gait.
 
According to the report, more than 35,000 CSM patients between the ages of 25 and 64 were evaluated after an anterior and/or posterior cervical fusion or laminoplasty. Another 19,000 CSM patients over the age of 65 were examined after their procedure. The researchers discovered the following:
  • Eleven percent (11%) of patients 65 and older reported complications after their surgery compared to 5.93% of younger patients.
  • Due to the increase in complications, the “older” patients had a higher cost for care than the younger patients. On average, the older patients spent a little over $7,000 more than the younger patients.
  • Older patients also experienced more days spent in the hospital than younger patients. The data found older patients stayed an average of 4.7 days in the hospital whereas younger patients stayed 3.6 days.
It may not come as a surprise to most physicians and patients that older people experience complications more often than younger people, but these findings shouldn’t excuse poor care from your medical team. At American Spine, we are dedicated to delivering the best possible care to all patients regardless of age.
There are a number of things patients can do to aid post-surgical recovery. Quitting smoking, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising, and stopping certain medications a few days or week before surgery could improve your outcome. The most important thing you can do is talk to your American Spine physician about the best ways to prepare for your surgery to boost positive post-surgical outcomes. Call American Spine today for more information!
 
At American Spine, we are committed to a minimally invasive approach to promote efficient pain control, higher functioning, and better quality of life! If you or someone you love is suffering from chronic pain, orthopedic, neurosurgical or spine issues don't hesitate to make an appointment by calling 240-629-3939.
We hope to see you soon!
 
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.
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