A Longitudinal Evaluation of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Its Effects on Spinal Decompressions with or Without Fusion

Nicholas Siegel, Mark J. Lambrechts, Parker L. Brush, Alexa Tomlak, Yunsoo Lee, Brian A. Karamian, Jose A. Canseco, Barrett I. Woods, I. David Kaye, Alan S. Hilibrand, Christopher K. Kepler, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Gregory D. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Retrospective cohort. Objective: The objectives were to (1) compare the safety of spine surgery before and after the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and (2) determine whether patients with a history of COVID-19 were at increased risk of adverse events. Summary and Background Data: The COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on several health care services. In spine surgery, elective cases were canceled and patients received delayed care due to the uncertainty of disease transmission and surgical outcomes. As new coronavirus variants arise, health care systems require guidance on how to provide optimal patient care to all those in need of our services. Patients and Methods: A retrospective review of patients undergoing spine surgery between January 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021 was performed. Patients were split into pre-COVID or post-COVID cohorts based on local government guidelines. Inpatient complications, 90-day readmission, and 90-day mortality were compared between groups. Secondary analysis included multiple logistic regression to determine independent predictors of each outcome. Results: A total of 2976 patients were included for analysis with 1701 patients designated as pre-COVID and 1275 as post-COVID. The pre-COVID cohort had fewer patients undergoing revision surgery (16.8% vs 21.9%, P < 0.001) and a lower home discharge rate (84.5% vs 88.2%, P = 0.008). Inpatient complication (9.9% vs 9.2%, P = 0.562), inpatient mortality (0.1% vs 0.2%, P = 0.193), 90-day readmission (3.4% vs 3.2%, P = 0.828), and 90-day mortality rates (0.8% vs 0.8%, P = 0.902) were similar between groups. Patients with positive COVID-19 tests before surgery had similar complication rates (7.7% vs 6.1%, P = 1.000) as those without a positive test documented. Conclusions: After the emergence of COVID-19, patients undergoing spine surgery had a greater number of medical comorbidities, but similar rates of inpatient complications, readmission, and mortality. Prior COVID-19 infection was not associated with an increased risk of postsurgical complications or mortality. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E131-E136
JournalClinical spine surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2024


  • COVID-19
  • complications
  • mortality
  • outcomes
  • readmissions
  • spine surgery


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