Cervical Spinal Fusion: 16-Year Trends in Epidemiology, Indications, and In-Hospital Outcomes by Surgical Approach

Stephan N. Salzmann, Peter B. Derman, Lukas P. Lampe, Janina Kueper, Ting Jung Pan, Jingyan Yang, Jennifer Shue, Federico P. Girardi, Stephen Lyman, Alexander P. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The rate of cervical spinal fusion has been increasing significantly. However, there is a paucity of literature describing trends based on surgical approach using complete population databases. We investigated the approach-based trends in epidemiology, indications, and in-hospital outcomes of cervical spinal fusion. Methods: New York's Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database was queried to identify patients who underwent primary subaxial cervical fusion from 1997 to 2012. Demographic and clinical information was obtained. Subgroup analyses were performed based on surgical approach: anterior (A), posterior (P), and circumferential (C). Results: A total of 87,045 cervical fusions were included. Over the study period, the population-adjusted annual fusion rate increased from 23.7 to 50.6 per 100,000 population (P < 0.001). A fusion was most common (85.2%), followed by P (12.3%), and C (2.5%). Mean ages were 49.8 ± 11.9, 59.9 ± 15.2, and 55.1 ± 14.5 years (P < 0.001), respectively. Although rates remained steady among younger patients, they increased for older patients. Overall, degenerative conditions were the predominant indications for surgery and increased in rate over time. The mean length of stay was: A, 3.1 ± 10.5; P, 9.1 ± 14.1; and C, 14.1 ± 22.5 days (P < 0.001). Rates of in-hospital complications were A, 3.0%; P, 10.5%; and C, 18.9% (P < 0.001), and mortality was A, 0.3%, P, 1.8%, and C, 2.5% (P < 0.001). Conclusions: The rate of subaxial spinal fusions increased 114% from 1997 to 2012 in New York State. Rates remained stable in younger patients but increased in the older population. Preoperative indications and postoperative courses differed significantly among the various approaches, with patients undergoing anterior fusion having better short-term outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e280-e295
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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