Private and Non-Private Disc Herniation Patients: Do they Differ?
Birgitta Gregebo , Deliang Dai 2, Birgitta Schillberg a, Martin Baehr 1, Bo Nyström*, Adam Taube 2
1 Clinic of Spinal Surgery, Strängnäs, Sweden
2 Department of Statistics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
In the 2006 yearly report from the Swedish National Register for Lumbar Spine Surgery it was claimed that international studies show obvious differences between private and non-private patients with regard to results from back surgery. Therefore our aim was to reveal such possible differences by comparing the two categories of patients at a private clinic.
Material and Methods :
The material comprises 1184 patients operated on for lumbar disc herniation during the period of 1987 to 2007. Basic pre-operative data were obtained from the medical records and follow-up was performed by a questionnaire around 5 years post-operatively.
Small but statistically significant differences between private and non-private patients were seen pre-operatively regarding the proportions of a/ men and women in the samples, b/ those with physically demanding jobs, c/ those on sick leave and d/ those with lumbar pain. Over the years the admitted private patients had a decreasing mean duration of symptoms which was not seen in the non-private patients. No apparent differences (n.s.) were seen between the two categories of patients pre-operatively regarding age, presence and level of leg pain or the proportion who smoked. Post-operative improvement in leg and lumbar pain was very similar in private and non-private patients as was satisfaction with the results and the proportion of patients returning to work.
Despite small pre-operative differences concerning some variables and a significant difference in symptom duration between private and non-private disc herniation patients, the final clinical results were very similar.
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Address correspondence to this author at the Clinic of Spinal Surgery, Löt, 64594 Strängnäs, Sweden; Tel: +46 152 26300; Fax: +46 152 26370;