Current Issue - January 2021 - Vol 24 Issue 1


  1. 2021;24;17-29Declining Utilization Patterns of Percutaneous Adhesiolysis Procedures in the Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medicare Population
    Health Services Research
    Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, Radomir Kosanovic, MD, Vidyasagar Pampati, MSc, and Alan D. Kaye, MD, PhD.

BACKGROUND: Percutaneous epidural adhesiolysis is a minimally invasive therapeutic modality used in the treatment of patients with chronic low back and lower extremity pain, often recalcitrant to other modalities including epidural injections and surgical interventions. While the initial utilization since its introduction and development of appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes increased up until 2008, but since 2009, there has been a significant decline in utilization of these procedures in the Medicare population. These procedures declined by 53.2% at an annual rate of 10.3% from 2009 to 2016. A recent update analysis on the reversal and decline of growth of utilization of interventional techniques in managing chronic pain in the Medicare population from 2009 to 2018 revealed an even further decline of adhesiolysis procedures.

STUDY DESIGN: An analysis of the utilization patterns of percutaneous adhesiolysis procedures in managing chronic low back and lower extremity pain in the Medicare population from 2000 to 2018, with comparative analysis from 2000 to 2009 and 2009 to 2018.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the utilization patterns of percutaneous adhesiolysis in managing chronic low back pain in the Medicare population.

METHODS: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Supplier Procedure Summary Master of Fee-For-Service (FFS) Data from 2000 to 2018 was used.

In this analysis, various variables were assessed in reference to usage patterns of percutaneous adhesiolysis procedures with analysis of growth or declining utilization patterns. We also assessed specialty-based utilization, as well as statewide utilization.

RESULTS: The decline of percutaneous adhesiolysis procedures began in 2009 and has continued since then. From 2009 to 2018, the overall decline was 69.2%, with an annual decline of 12.3% compared to an overall 62.6% increase from 2000 to 2009, with an annual increase of 5.6%. Compared to multiple other interventions, including epidural injections and facet joint interventions, percutaneous adhesiolysis has declined at a rapid rate.

CONCLUSIONS: This assessment in the FFS Medicare population in the United States shows an irreversible decline of utilization of percutaneous adhesiolysis procedures, which has been gradually deteriorating with a 69.2% decline from 2009 to 2018 with an annual decline of 12.3% during that same time period.

KEY WORDS: Epidural injections, percutaneous adhesiolysis, post-surgery syndrome, spinal stenosis, lumbar disc herniation