Specialists clash over spinal fusion

Specialists have clashed publically over spinal fusion for back pain, with a leading rheumatologist challenging a neurosurgeon to carry out a placebo-controlled trial of the procedure.

Sparks flew on SBS’s Insight program, Joint Operation, on Tuesday night when Sydney  neurosurgeon, Dr Timothy Steel, was asked to talk about the ‘thousands’ of spinal fusion operations he had done.

Professor Ian Harris, an orthopaedic surgeon who researches evidence-based medicine in surgery, introduced the topic by saying spinal fusion for back pain was a