Complications and rates of subsequent lumbar surgery following lumbar total disc arthroplasty and lumbar fusion

Claire D. Eliasberg, Michael P. Kelly, Remi M. Ajiboye, Nelson F. SooHoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Study Design. Retrospective analysis. Objective. To examine complications and rates of subsequent surgery following lumbar spinal fusion (LF) and lumbar total disc arthroplasty (TDA) at up to 5-year follow-up. Summary of Background Data. LF is commonly used in the management of degenerative disc disease causing pain refractory to nonoperative management. Lumbar TDA was developed as an alternative to fusion with the theoretical advantage of reducing rates of adjacent segment pathology and reoperation. Most prior reports comparing these 2 interventions have come from industry-sponsored investigational device exemption trials and no large-scale administrative database comparisons exist. Methods. The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development discharge database was queried for patients aged 18 to 65 years undergoing lumbar TDA and LF for degenerative disc disease from 2004 to 2010. Patient characteristics were collected, and rates of complications and readmission were identified. Rates of repeat lumbar surgery were calculated at 90-day and 1-, 3-, and 5-year follow-up intervals. Results. A total of 52,877 patients met the inclusion criteria (LF=50,462, TDA=2415). Wound infections were more common following LF than TDA (1.03% vs. 0.25%, P<0.001). Rates of subsequent lumbar surgery at 90-day and 1-year follow-up were lower with lumbar TDA than LF (90-day-TDA: 2.94% vs. LF: 4.01%, P =0.007; 1-yr-TDA: 3.46% vs. LF: 4.78%, P=0.009). However, there were no differences in rates of subsequent lumbar surgery between the 2 groups at 3-year and 5-year follow-up. Conclusion. Lumbar TDA was associated with fewer early reoperations, though beyond 1 year, rates of reoperation were similar. Lumbar TDA may be associated with fewer acute infections, though this may be approach related and unrelated to the device itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016


  • Artificial disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar spine
  • Outcomes
  • Reoperation
  • Spinal fusion
  • Surgery
  • Surgical complications
  • Total disc arthroplasty
  • Wound infection


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