4.2 Lumbar spinal decompression excluding fusion, 18 years and over

Lumbar spinal decompression is a type of surgery that can be used to treat chronic low back pain and other symptoms of degenerative spinal disorders. Find out about variation in lumbar spinal decompression rates in the Fourth Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2021.

At a glance

  • Degenerative spinal disorders are a diverse group of conditions that can cause chronic low back pain, leg pain and disability
  • Lumbar spinal decompression surgery is generally only considered for certain degenerative spinal disorders if non-surgical options have not worked, but there are limited data on outcomes
  • Spinal surgery for treating infection, tumours or injury, was excluded from examination in the Atlas
  • After standardising to remove age and sex differences between populations, the rate of hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression excluding fusion in 2015–2018 was about 8 times higher in the area with the highest rate compared with the area with the lowest rate. The rate had declined since 2012–2015
  • To address variation, it is important to improve access to multidisciplinary review and non-surgical treatments for chronic low back pain, and to develop the Australian Spine Registry to collect data on patient outcomes and support audit and peer review.

Interactive maps, graphs and data

Data show variation in rates by geographic location of patient residence. To use the interactive maps and graphs:

  • Hover or click on maps and graphs for details of data points
  • Use the dropdown boxes at the bottom of graphs to select states and territories, SA3s or PHNs

Learn more about using the interactive Atlas or how to interpret the data.

Map of rates across Australia

Rates by local area

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Histogram_LS_decompression/Histogram?:iid=2&:embed=y#1

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_LS_decompression/Stateandterritory?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

Rates by remoteness and SES

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_LS_decompression/RemotenessandSES?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

About the data

About the data  - Lumbar spinal decompression, 18 years and over

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for lumbar spinal decompression (excluding lumbar spinal fusion) per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2015–2018. Hospitalisations resulting from infection, tumours and injury are excluded from this analysis.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression surgery, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the financial year will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the usual residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

Data quality issues – for example, the extent of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in datasets – could influence the variation seen.

Some private hospitals in Tasmania admit public patients under a contractual arrangement. There is a small over-count of hospitalisations for the procedure in Tasmania because hospitalisations were recorded by both contracting hospital and contracted hospital.

 

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

2021
Publication, report or update

Map of rates across Australia

Rates by local area

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Histogram_LS_decompression/Histogram?:iid=2&:embed=y#1

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_LS_decompression/Stateandterritory?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

Rates by remoteness and SES

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_LS_decompression/RemotenessandSES?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

About the data

About the data  - Lumbar spinal decompression, 18 years and over

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for lumbar spinal decompression (excluding lumbar spinal fusion) per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2015–2018. Hospitalisations resulting from infection, tumours and injury are excluded from this analysis.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression surgery, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the financial year will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the usual residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

Data quality issues – for example, the extent of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in datasets – could influence the variation seen.

Some private hospitals in Tasmania admit public patients under a contractual arrangement. There is a small over-count of hospitalisations for the procedure in Tasmania because hospitalisations were recorded by both contracting hospital and contracted hospital.

 

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

2021
Publication, report or update

Rates by patient funding status

Rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/RatesbyAboriginalandTorresStraitIslanderstatus?%3Aiid=2&%3Aembed=y#2

About the data

About the data  - Lumbar spinal decompression, 18 years and over

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for lumbar spinal decompression (excluding lumbar spinal fusion) per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2015–2018. Hospitalisations resulting from infection, tumours and injury are excluded from this analysis.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression surgery, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the financial year will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the usual residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

Data quality issues – for example, the extent of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in datasets – could influence the variation seen.

Some private hospitals in Tasmania admit public patients under a contractual arrangement. There is a small over-count of hospitalisations for the procedure in Tasmania because hospitalisations were recorded by both contracting hospital and contracted hospital.

 

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

2021
Publication, report or update

Rates by patient funding status

Rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/RatesbyAboriginalandTorresStraitIslanderstatus?%3Aiid=2&%3Aembed=y#2

About the data

About the data  - Lumbar spinal decompression, 18 years and over

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for lumbar spinal decompression (excluding lumbar spinal fusion) per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2015–2018. Hospitalisations resulting from infection, tumours and injury are excluded from this analysis.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression surgery, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the financial year will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the usual residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

Data quality issues – for example, the extent of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in datasets – could influence the variation seen.

Some private hospitals in Tasmania admit public patients under a contractual arrangement. There is a small over-count of hospitalisations for the procedure in Tasmania because hospitalisations were recorded by both contracting hospital and contracted hospital.

 

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

2021
Publication, report or update

National overview

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/Ratesbystateandterritory?%3Aiid=3&%3Aembed=y#1

Rates by state and territory across years

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/Stateandterritoryratesacrossyears?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

Consistently high and low SA3s

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/ConsistentlyhighorlowrateSA3s?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

Rates by procedure

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/Ratesbyproceduretype?%3Aiid=2&%3Aembed=y#1

About the data

About the data  - Lumbar spinal decompression, 18 years and over

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for lumbar spinal decompression (excluding lumbar spinal fusion) per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2015–2018. Hospitalisations resulting from infection, tumours and injury are excluded from this analysis.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression surgery, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the financial year will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the usual residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

Data quality issues – for example, the extent of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in datasets – could influence the variation seen.

Some private hospitals in Tasmania admit public patients under a contractual arrangement. There is a small over-count of hospitalisations for the procedure in Tasmania because hospitalisations were recorded by both contracting hospital and contracted hospital.

 

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

2021
Publication, report or update

National overview

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/Ratesbystateandterritory?%3Aiid=3&%3Aembed=y#1

Rates by state and territory across years

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/Stateandterritoryratesacrossyears?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

Consistently high and low SA3s

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/ConsistentlyhighorlowrateSA3s?%3Aiid=1&%3Aembed=y#1

Rates by procedure

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/Lumbarspinaldecompressionexcludingfusion/Ratesbyproceduretype?%3Aiid=2&%3Aembed=y#1

About the data

About the data  - Lumbar spinal decompression, 18 years and over

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for lumbar spinal decompression (excluding lumbar spinal fusion) per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2015–2018. Hospitalisations resulting from infection, tumours and injury are excluded from this analysis.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for lumbar spinal decompression surgery, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the financial year will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the usual residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

Data quality issues – for example, the extent of identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in datasets – could influence the variation seen.

Some private hospitals in Tasmania admit public patients under a contractual arrangement. There is a small over-count of hospitalisations for the procedure in Tasmania because hospitalisations were recorded by both contracting hospital and contracted hospital.

 

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

2021
Publication, report or update