Private and Non-Private Disc Herniation Patients: Do they Differ?

Birgitta Gregebo , Deliang Dai 2, Birgitta Schillberg a, Martin Baehr 1, Bo Nyström*, Adam Taube 2
1 Clinic of Spinal Surgery, Strängnäs, Sweden
2 Department of Statistics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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© Gregebo et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Clinic of Spinal Surgery, Löt, 64594 Strängnäs, Sweden; Tel: +46 152 26300; Fax: +46 152 26370; E-mail:


Objectives :

In the 2006 yearly report from the Swedish National Register for Lumbar Spine Surgery it was claimed that international studies show obvious differences between private and non-private patients with regard to results from back surgery. Therefore our aim was to reveal such possible differences by comparing the two categories of patients at a private clinic.

Material and Methods :

The material comprises 1184 patients operated on for lumbar disc herniation during the period of 1987 to 2007. Basic pre-operative data were obtained from the medical records and follow-up was performed by a questionnaire around 5 years post-operatively.

Results :

Small but statistically significant differences between private and non-private patients were seen pre-operatively regarding the proportions of a/ men and women in the samples, b/ those with physically demanding jobs, c/ those on sick leave and d/ those with lumbar pain. Over the years the admitted private patients had a decreasing mean duration of symptoms which was not seen in the non-private patients. No apparent differences (n.s.) were seen between the two categories of patients pre-operatively regarding age, presence and level of leg pain or the proportion who smoked. Post-operative improvement in leg and lumbar pain was very similar in private and non-private patients as was satisfaction with the results and the proportion of patients returning to work.

Conclusion :

Despite small pre-operative differences concerning some variables and a significant difference in symptom duration between private and non-private disc herniation patients, the final clinical results were very similar.

Keywords: Lumbar disc herniation, non-private patients, outcome, private patients, prognostic factors, surgery..