Clinical outcomes in revision lumbar spine fusions: an observational cohort study

J Neurosurg Spine 35:437–445, 2021

The authors compared primary lumbar spine fusions with revision fusions by using patient Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores to evaluate the impact of the North American Spine Society (NASS) evidence-based medicine (EBM) lumbar fusion indications on patient-reported outcome measures of revision surgeries.

METHODS This study was a retrospective analysis of a prospective observational cohort of patients who underwent elective lumbar fusion between January 2018 and December 2019 at a single quaternary spine surgery service and had a minimum of 6 months of follow-up. A prospective quality improvement database was constructed that included the data from all elective lumbar spine surgeries, which were categorized prospectively as primary or revision surgeries and EBM-concordant or EBM-discordant revision surgeries based on the NASS coverage EBM policy. In total, 309 patients who met the inclusion criteria were included in the study. The ODIs of all groups (primary, revision, revision EBM concordant, and revision EBM discordant) were statistically compared. Differences in frequencies between cohorts were evaluated using chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests. The unpaired 2-tailed Student t-test and the Mann-Whitney U-test for nonparametric data were used to compare continuous variables. Logistic regression was performed to determine the associations between independent variables (surgery status and NASS criteria indications) and functional outcomes.

RESULTS Primary lumbar fusions were significantly associated with improved functional outcomes compared with revisions, as evidenced by ODI scores (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.16–2.95 to achieve a minimal clinically important difference, p = 0.01). The percentage of patients whose functional status had declined at the 6-month postoperative evaluation was significantly higher in patients who had undergone a revision surgery than in those who underwent a primary surgery (23% vs 12.3%, respectively). An increase in ODI score, indicating worse clinical outcome after surgery, was greater in patients who underwent revision procedures (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.17–3.91, p = 0.0014). Patients who underwent EBMconcordant revision surgery had significantly improved mean ODI scores compared with those who underwent EBMdiscordant revision surgery (7.02 ± 5.57 vs −4.6 ± 6.54, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS The results of this prospective quality improvement program investigation illustrate that outcomes of primary lumbar fusions were superior to outcomes of revisions. However, revision procedures that met EBM guidelines were associated with greater improvements in ODI scores, which indicates that the use of defined EBM guideline criteria for reoperation can improve clinical outcomes of revision lumbar fusions.


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