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Workers’ Compensation and Outcomes of Upper Extremity Surgery

Konrad I. Gruson J Am Acad Orthop Surg February 2013 ; 21 Abstract

Clinical outcomes following upper extremity surgery among workers’ compensation patients have traditionally been found to be worse than those of non–workers’ compensation patients. In addition, workers’ compensation patients take significantly longer to return to their jobs, and they return to their preinjury levels of employment at a lower overall rate. These unfavorable prognoses may stem from the strenuous physical demands placed on the upper extremity in this group of patients. Further, there is a potential financial benefit within this patient population to report severe functional disability following surgery. Orthopaedic upper extremity surgeons who treat workers’ compensation patients should be aware of the potentially prolonged period before return to work after surgical intervention and should counsel this group of patients accordingly. Vocational training should be considered if a patient’s clinical progress begins to plateau.

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