Information for Insurers


An Alternative Resource For Hard-Pressed Insurers


A demanding problem

The treatment of patients with long term back problems can involve complex and lengthy procedures requiring sophisticated surgery, expensive implants and long hospitalisation. This escalates costs and ties up resources often for many months at a time and the impact of this upon PCT’s is profound. The NHS currently spends about £480million p.a. on services for back pain, many of which are ineffective.


Effective sustained treatment benefit

In contrast to the above, Aware State Diagnosis and Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery are delivering encouraging results in well over 80% of cases treated when reviewed 2-4 years later, and 70% still satisfied 10 years later. In addition, these procedures are often carried out on a ‘Day Case’ basis, with far less consumption of anaesthetics, material resources and personnel; all of which indicates that these techniques offer a compelling alternative to traditional spinal surgery.


Earlier recovery

The benefits to the patient are also considerable. Keyhole surgery means less blood loss and tissue disturbance, resulting in a much earlier recovery and return to normal life and work. Moreover, these techniques are less traumatic than traditional open surgery and less radical than Fusion Surgery, preserving the patient’s options for future surgery as techniques advance.


Encouraging results

Over the last 20 years, The Spinal Foundation has successfully treated over 10,000 complex cases using laser "keyhole" surgery on patients who would otherwise have required a major intervention such as fusion surgery. At the same time a wealth of knowledge has been acquired that is not available to conventional doctors and surgeons and PCT’s may be unaware of the opportunities that now exist.


Expert services

Patients with degenerative disc disease should be increasingly directed to centres offering specialist services and where surgeons have undertaken prescribed training. In particular, surgeons who have progressed beyond Endoscopic Intradiscal Disectomy and can perform Endoscopic Lumbar Decompression and Foraminoplasty can help to alleviate the burdens of back pain upon PCT’s.


RCT progress

Although a Randomised Clinical Trial has not yet been conducted, NICE guidelines confirm that most patients are improved by the process. An evidence base is needed before these techniques can be widely disseminated through the NHS and a pilot study has been designed with the help of the York Clinical Trials Unit to establish the requirements for a full comparative study.


Preserving your options

Our aim is to preserve the patients options for future treatment should their spine continue to degenerate so that advantage can be taken of evolving surgical techniques. For your further information, please follow this link for information about conditions and treatment (click link for list).


Subscribe to Information for Insurers