A descriptive epidemiologic study.
To analyze trends and patient characteristics for lumbosacral transforaminal and interlaminar/caudal epidural injection utilization over time.
Lumbosacral transforaminal and interlaminar/caudal epidural injections are considered for varying lumbar pathologies. Reported studies, physician practices, insurance authorization, and other factors may influence utilization patterns over time.
Patients undergoing lumbosacral transforaminal and interlaminar/caudal epidural injections between 2010 and 2019 were identified in the M91Ortho PearlDiver database based on Current Procedural Terminology coding. Patient age, sex, Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (ECI), insurance plan (commercial, Medicaid, Medicare), and region of the country where the procedure was performed (Midwest, Northeast, South, West) were assessed and tracked over the years studied based on prevalence per 100,000 covered lives.
Lumbosacral transforaminal and interlaminar/caudal epidural injections were identified for 426,039 and 501,228 patients, respectively. The number of injections performed per year decreased over the years studied: for transforaminal injections from 160.81 to 76.36 per 100,000 patients and for interlaminar/caudal injections from 200.53 to 77.56 per 100,000 patients. The decrease in overall injections was greatest for those with Commercial and Medicare coverage (53.40% and 66.50%, respectively), with a smaller drop amongst those with Medicaid coverage (32.39%).
Over the years, the average patient undergoing injection was older and there was a relative shift toward transforaminal injections (P<0.05 for both). In terms of specialty of those performing the injections, they were mostly performed by Anesthesiology specialists (who performed less transforaminal than interlaminar/caudal injections).
Lumbosacral transforaminal and interlaminar/caudal spinal epidural injections were shown to decrease by 52.37% per 100,000 patients from 2010 to 2019. Changing demographics of those undergoing such injections and practice patterns are important to consider in the picture of overall spine service utilization. Variations in injection utilization trends by patient insurance raise questions regarding disparities in care.