When a client requires surgical intervention after a traumatic event, a very recent article AGAIN confirms what has been published in the past; it’s NOT OVER after the surgery.
In a study by Matsumoto, et al. (2009), a 10-year follow up MRI of patients who underwent anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) compared to healthy controls was conducted. The authors state, “There have been few studies which investigate incidence of progression of degenerative changes at adjacent segments in patients treated by ACDF comparing healthy control subjects…However, ACDF is associated with several peri and postoperative problems, one of which is adjacent segment degeneration” (Matsumoto, et al., 2009, p. 36). Later on in the research paper, the authors report, “However, clinical symptoms including neck pain, shoulder stiffness, and numbness in the upper extremities were significantly more frequent in ACDF group than in control group. This suggests that adjacent segment degeneration might be in part associated with the patients’ symptoms” (Matsumoto, et al., 2009, 42).
That means that surgical correction is not the end of the claimant’s injuries. Future care is required in ALL FUSIONS to ensure the progression of degeneration and the reactivation of sensitive structures is monitored. Doctors that are trained properly in triaging and treating the traumatically injured not only understand the necessity of future care, but also how and when to properly document it.
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