Temporal relationship between lumbar spine surgeries, return to work, and workers' compensation costs in a cohort of injured workers

Robert A. Lavin, Xuguang Tao, Larry Yuspeh, Edward J. Bernacki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Determine the relationship between time to surgery, lost time, and insurance costs. Method:Acohort of 582 claimants undergoing lumbar spine surgery (1999 to 2002) in the state of Louisiana was observed for 7 years. Results: The shorter the time interval between injury and first lumbar surgery, the lower the cost and time lost from work. Average days lost from work and claim costs for 42% of those undergoing early lumbar surgery did not differ from injured workers who lost time from work for claims not involving lumbar surgery. Claim cost for the remaining 58% who had delayed surgery was 5.7 times greater than that for the early surgery cohort. Conclusion: The decision to perform lumbar surgery is not necessarily associated with high claim costs or longer time out from work, provided that the determination to operate is early.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-543
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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