I read a news brief that said patients often aren't satisfied with the results of spinal fusion. What does this mean?

There are different ways to look at patient satisfaction. Is the quality of life better after the operation? Does the patient have less pain? More function? If they had to do it all over, would they have the same operation again? These are some common measures of patient satisfaction.

A recent study at Duke University of results after fusion reported many patients were more disabled after the operation. All patients had a spinal fusion using interbody fusion cages. Even so 64 percent of the patients said they would have the same operation again.

Researchers find this outcome puzzling. They suggest patients are so distressed by the time and money spent on the surgery, they feel obliged to say they would do it again. Or perhaps the results of the operation were disappointing but it was better than doing nothing about the problem.