Shoulder surgery in workers’ compensation patients What the figures say. John North Michael Francis.
Shoulder surgery in workers’ compensation patientsWhat the figures say
On Saturday 11 June 2011, Dr John North, Chairman of the Orthopaedic Assessment Tribunal, delivered a presentation to the Australian Orthopaedic Association Scientific Conference which highlighted some important considerations for insurers and medical practitioners relating to shoulder surgery for workers with a diagnosis of frozen shoulder.
The workers' compensation data set was assessed to evaluate if there were differences in the outcomes for frozen shoulder sufferers for those who had been treated surgically versus conservatively.
A modified version of the presentation is attached.
Chairman, Orthopaedic Assessment Tribunal
Secretary, Medical Assessment Tribunals (Q-COMP)
Data supplied by Q-COMP
Surgery for claimants with a diagnoses of ‘adhesive capsulitis’ (otherwise known as frozen shoulder), generally results in significantly worse outcomes for workers’ compensation patients compared to those who receive non-operative treatment only.
All claims in the sample were finalised between 1 January 2005 & 31 December 2010
The sample only included claims where there was:
time lost from work; &
medical expenses paid
Surgery for the condition is assumed to have occurred in patients with the diagnosis that have had an overnight stay in hospital for the relevant claim
Surgery is associated with MORE:
Statutory workers comp’ payments
Allied health costs
Common law quantum
Defined indications for surgery
Stringent surgical approval process
Non-operative options fully explored
Informed consent must be comprehensive
Figures are correlational only
but strongly suggest that
for compensated patients with ‘adhesive capsulitis’
should always be
carefully considered by
surgeons, insurers and patients.