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A survey of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) awareness among neurosurgeons in Washington State

Completed
CAM Research / Education
Neurology
Wu C, Weber W, Kozak L, Standish L
Ojemann J, Ellenbogen R, Avellino A
2009

Objectives

Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by the U.S. population increased significantly in the past 2 decades. To maximize a patient's recovery from a neurosurgical procedure, it is critical that neurosurgeons be aware of the benefits and potential adverse complications of CAM therapies. The survey's purpose was to assess the current patterns of CAM utilization by neurosurgery patients and neurosurgeon knowledge of CAM therapies among Washington State Association of Neurological Surgeons (WSANS) members.

Methods

Members of the WSANS were surveyed in 2005. The survey was sent via e-mail and the data were anonymously collected using an online survey tool, Catalyst WebQ.

Results

The majority of responses (79%) stated that their neurosurgery practice was > or =75% adults. Acupuncture, herbs, massage therapy, prayer, and yoga were the most common CAM treatments patients used or discussed with their neurosurgeon. Fifty percent (50%) of neurosurgeons discussed the use of acupuncture among their colleagues. Concerning prayer and spirituality, 38% of the surveyed neurosurgeons stated that > or =25% of their patients have disclosed that they pray for their health; 42% stated that spirituality and prayer may affect neurosurgery outcome; and 38% stated that they pray for their patients. Overall, 63% of surveyed neurosurgeons stated that CAM treatments have a role in neurosurgery.

Conclusions

The use of CAM may influence neurosurgical care; and the role of spirituality and prayer should be further explored. Because CAM utilization is ubiquitous, open discussion and familiarity with CAM treatments are becoming increasingly important in the field of neurosurgery.