PCORI Help Center

Lumbar fusion is not recommended for "nonspecific" low back pain—why is this one of the required treatment arms?

Currently, lumbar fusion surgery is performed for many patients with nonspecific low back pain. Further, a recent study found that the annual rate of lumbar fusion surgery actually increased almost threefold from 1998-2008 (Pumberger et al. 2012). Therefore, while opinions and clinical guidelines may vary regarding its appropriateness for nonspecific low back pain, it is in common use, which is why PCORI—along with stakeholders as described below—is seeking to clarify its effectiveness vs. the best nonsurgical options available.

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