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Cages for Cervical Spinal Fusion Not Investigational

Council of Surgical Spine Societies to Aetna: Cages for Cervical Spinal Fusion Not Investigational

Written by  Laura Miller | Friday, 10 January 2014 11:50
The Council of Surgical Spine Societies recently penned a letter to Aetna commenting on the insurer’s back pain and invasive procedures policy.

The letter was sent in December 2013 for the Jan. 9, 2014 review. The letter requests a change in current policy, which considers cervical cage use experimental. The current policy “does not reflect standard best practice, and does not accurately reflect the available literature and evidence,” states the letter.

The review cites a 2004 Cochrane systematic review that doesn’t include more recent literature or opinions on the issue. The societies ask the insurer to consider a more updated Cochrane systematic review published in 2011 that “adds clarity to the conflicting conclusions from 2004 and superior assessment of the role of cervical cages.

The letter concludes by supporting the medical necessity for using cages during cervical fusion. “The vast literature on these devices in conjunction with approvals from the FDA provides overwhelming evidence their use is not investigational and actually represents a standard best practice.”