Minnesota Releases Data on Functional Improvement After Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

spine surgery
Minnesota is the first state in the nation to collect and publicly release post-op data for three main surgeries: lumbar fusion surgery, herniated disk surgery, and total knee replacement. The results indicated how successful operations can be and how quality of life improved after an operation. Here’s a closer look at how patient outcomes fared in the two operations that involved the spine.


Spine health and operations were graded on a 100 point scale. Although the data does not show the average score of a patient prior to surgery, researchers noted that patients on average saw a 16.7 point change after lumbar fusion surgeries as well as a 22 point increase for herniated disk surgeries. The higher the number indicates the greater improvement? The measurements were:

  • Pain
  • Function
  • Mobility
  • Quality of life

Researchers also uncovered that these operations allowed most patients to improve their daily abilities. Activities like sitting, walking and getting in and out of bed all became easier for the vast majority of patients after either spinal procedure. Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said it’s great that Minnesota surgery centers are releasing this data, as it allows patients to make informed decisions and increase ownership of their own health care.

“It’s important to understand the effectiveness of these surgeries because the demand for them is growing,” said Dr. Ehlinger. “I am pleased that Minnesota has taken the lead by providing patients with quality information about the degree to which these procedures have helped to alleviate pain and to improve mobility and function.”

As surgeons, it’s important that we continue to utilize our skills when it comes to performing these procedures and getting people back to a better quality of life, because there’s not going to be a shortage of people who need spine surgeries. The number of spine surgeries performed annually is expected to jump 59 percent by the year 2025.

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