27 May

PhD Defence Ruud Droeghaag

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. H. Van Santbrink

Co-supervisors: Dr. W.L.W. Van Hemert, Dr. I.J.M.H. Caelers

Keywords: Spine surgery, cost-effectiveness, economic evaluation, lumbar fusion

"Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness in lumbar spine surgery"

Many people experience back problems in their lives, and some seek medical help. The first part of the thesis investigates how people who come to the hospital with back problems are treated. It was found that the majority of patients received conservative treatment, such as exercise advice or physiotherapy. Only a small portion underwent surgery. It is known that surgical care for spinal problems incurs much higher costs compared to non-operative care. The second part of the dissertation compares different surgical techniques used for the same condition. The study examined whether techniques that result in less tissue damage also led to faster recovery and lower costs. During this research, it was discovered that there are significant differences in the scientific approach to cost-effectiveness in spine surgery. In the final part of the dissertation, the cause of these differences was investigated. Based on the findings, a guideline was developed with experts from around the world to improve the comparability of this type of research in the future.

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