CHRONIC PAIN SURGERY: TOO RISKY, TOO COSTLY

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With high costs, risks of adverse events, and scant evidence of effectiveness, surgery for chronic pain is a prime example of overutilization of healthcare services.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

More than 100 million Americans suffer with chronic pain.

Annual costs associated with chronic pain range as high as $635 billion.

Research shows the risk of adverse events is significantly higher for invasive procedures (12%) than sham procedures (4%).

There is inadequate evidence to justify surgical procedures to treat chronic pain, recent research shows.

“Given their high cost and safety concerns, more rigorous studies are required before invasive procedures are routinely used for patients with chronic pain,” researchers reported this month in the journal Pain Medicine.

Chronic pain is a widespread and costly condition in the United States, affecting more than 100 million people and costing as much as $635 billion annually.

The Pain Medicine research features a review of 25 clinical trials involving 2,000 patients with conditions including lower back pain, arthritis, angina, abdominal pain, and endometriosis.

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