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Health policy. Honest and transparent.

We pick up on what gets short shrift in the leading media. Guest authors from around the world enrich our blog.

The success of the operation still lags considerably!

27. August 2021 | Dr. med. Christian R. Etter

In the chaos of commonplaces, special therapies and information about special surgical techniques, it is no longer possible for many to gain an overview. In the end, fear and great uncertainty remain.

Spinasana should give courage, because our motto is "Information is the best remedy against fear and wrong decisions". The goal is recognized and there is no doubt about the vital need of Spinasana! This was already written by Dr. med. Christian R. Etter in 2003 in the magazine "Colonna". Unfortunately, the situation for patients has not improved in the meantime and a second opinion in the decision-making process for surgery "yes, no or wait?" is more important than ever.

Fatal belief in images

13. August 2021 | Dr. Thomas Stoll

A decisive cause for the rampant number of back surgeries are misinterpreted X-ray and MRI images. In the spine in particular, signs of wear and tear are very common, especially after the age of 40, and are not necessarily the cause of the complaints.

Thus, a pronounced change can remain asymptomatic and an inconspicuous small protrusion can cause severe pain. Often, more obvious changes are present in several places, which makes it even more difficult to identify the cause of the pain.

According to The Lancet, the following scientific findings support these statements:

  • 34% have no symptoms despite significant disc wear
  • 57% have symptoms because of disc wear
  • At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, 107 healthy young athletes underwent MRI and it showed moderate to serious disc wear in 35% (37 athletes)

The Spinasana team says:

The increasing belief in images is fatal, which applies primarily to the spine. Not only the X-ray images should be operated on! Only if the X-ray and MRI findings clearly match the symptom picture, surgery should be considered at all. Therefore, a second opinion is needed, because "several eyes see more".

Renowned task force makes emergency "call to action"!

8. August 2021 | Dr. med. Christian R. Etter

In a consensus document and 15 publications in the world-renowned journal "The Lancet", 68 clinically active spine physicians and scientists from 24 countries call for urgent action ("call to action") to address the emergency in back medicine.

"A major task will be to end harmful therapies while ensuring access to effective and cost-effective therapies."

Harmful therapies are focused on too-frequent spine surgeries and injections. MRI exams ordered too quickly are also criticized.

This shows that a second opinion - for example, from Spinasana - is worthwhile before an intervention is made on the back.



50% of spine surgeries are unnecessary.

29. Juli 2021 | Dr. med. Christian R. Etter

Do you have a back surgery coming up? The topic is dealt with comprehensively in various articles on well-known online portals: The motto is clear: Get a neutral second opinion. You can read more about this in this blog post.

  • The article "Back surgery or second opinion: What to do in case of back pain or herniated disc?" from the patient magazine simply shows that half of the back patients decided against back surgery after a second opinion.
  • Still further in the number of rejecting back operations goes "the focus article", which is based on a study of the technician health insurance company Germany. A survey has shown that even 85% of surgical interventions are not necessary.
  • According to "The Lancet" in Australia, fusion surgery for so-called non-specific axial low back pain, i.e., when misalignment, fracture, tumor or deformity are ruled out, is no longer paid for by basic health insurance (Medicare). This is a serious government intervention in back medicine, which deliberately finances only sensible therapies.

Really successful surgery can only be performed on pain caused by a pinching of the nerve, i.e. the human electric cable. This "electric cable pain" is localized in the leg or arm, not in the back or neck.

Therefore, the neck or lower back pain, which is in the foreground, can only be operated on successfully in very special cases! And since in overwhelming numbers the neck and low back pain are in the foreground, these figures about inappropriate back surgeries seem quite understandable from the point of view of the Spinasana team. That is why we recommend, as mentioned at the beginning, to get a well-founded and professional second opinion.