Back surgery was relatively rare in the early 1990s, but over time it grew to be a popular treatment for back pain, despite there being little solid evidence of its effectiveness. In 2006, the first large randomized trial showed that while many patients did feel better a year after surgery, so did a nearly equal proportion of people in the control group who did not have surgery.
An article in The New York Times looks at the popularity of back surgery and its startling region-specific popularity. Before there was evidence available on the effectiveness of the surgery, it was a puzzle as to why it became more popular in certain broad regions and not in others. Check out the article for some interesting possible explanations and please share your thoughts with us!
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