Myths About Spine Surgery (It’s Not Permanent Relief)

Available for Interviews: Dr. Tammy Penhollow

Dr. Tammy Penhollow is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, specializing in anesthesiology, pain management, and regenerative medicine. Having over 20 years of experience has helped her to cultivate a passion for regenerative medicine and holistic healing. Dr. Penhollow practices at Precision Regenerative Medicine in the greater Phoenix area.

What Dr. Tammy Penhollow can say in an interview on
Spine Surgery:

  • Elective lumbar spine surgery rates are increasing and so are their costs.  Volume of elective lumbar fusion increased 62.3% (or 32.1% per 100,000 US adults), from 122,679 cases (60.4 per 100,000) in 2004 to 199,140 (79.8 per 100,000) in 2015. Increases were greatest among age 65 or older, increasing 138.7% by volume (73.2% by rate), from 98.3 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 97.2, 99.3) in 2004 to 170.3 (95% CI 169.2, 171.5) in 2015. Although the largest increases were for spondylolisthesis (+47,390 operations, 111%) and scoliosis (+16,129 operations, 186.6%), disc degeneration, herniation, and stenosis combined to accounted for 42.3% of total elective lumbar fusions in 2015. Aggregate hospital costs increased 177% during these 12 years, exceeding $10 billion in 2015, and averaging more than $50,000 per admission.
  • “Failed back surgery syndrome”  or the surgeon preferred term of “post surgical spine syndrome” is an increasingly common challenge for clinicians who deal with spinal disorders owing given the expanding indications for spine surgery and the aging population.  One option is to extend the fusion to a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. . . . level.  
  • Unfortunately, reoperation is a treatment with diminishing returns.  Little more than 50% of primary spinal surgeries are successful, and no more than 30%, 15%, and 5% of the patients experience a successful outcome after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th surgeries respectively. 
  • The prevalence and incidence of patients with this syndrome are comparable with those of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.  The problem with the pain of post surgical spine syndrome is that it is associated with a greater level of pain and a poorer quality of life and worse physical function due to nerve involvement and due to the surgical changes to the soft tissues surrounding the fusion hardware.  As such, these patients are worse off compared with those with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. 


Interviews: Dr. Tammy Penhollow

Dr. Tammy Penhollow practices at Precision Regenerative Medicine in Scottsdale, Arizona, where develops individualized treatment plans for musculoskeletal and spine interventions with PRP and bone marrow aspirate using image guidance, as well as micro-needling with PRP for skin, hair and anti-aging conditions. She also stays active in teaching as an Instructor in Anesthesiology for the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science and as a Supplemental Consultant for the Department of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

A former active duty US Naval Officer, Dr. Penhollow has lived, practiced, and has been deployed around the US and overseas. She embodies the lifestyle she recommends to her patients and is an active hiker, gardener and yogi as well as a French trained home chef and an aspiring sommelier.

Jo Allison
Managing Editor
Director of Public Relations
Success In Media, Inc.

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