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J Orthop Sci. 2015 Jan;20(1):38-54. doi: 10.1007/s00776-014-0656-6. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Japanese 2011 nationwide survey on complications from spine surgery.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-1 Minami-kogushi, Ube, Japan,



The Japanese Society for Spine Surgery and Related Research (JSSR) previously carried out two nationwide surveys in 1994 and 2001 on complications from spine and spinal cord surgery. More than 10 years have now elapsed since 2001. Rapidly ageing populations have major impacts on society, particularly in the medical field. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine the present situation for spine surgery in Japan.


The JSSR research team prepared a computerized questionnaire made up of two categories in order to capture clinicopathological information and surgical information. A recordable optical disc for data storage was sent to surgeons who were certified for spine surgery by JSSR. The data was analyzed.


The JSSR carried out a nationwide survey of complications of 31,380 patients. Patients aged 60 years or older comprised 63.1 % of the overall cohort. This was considerably higher than observed in previous surveys. Degenerative spinal diseases increased 79.7 %. With regard to surgical approach, the incidence of anterior surgery has decreased, while that of posterior surgery has increased compared to the earlier surveys (both p < 0.05). Spinal instrumentation was applied in 30.2 % cases, compared to 27.0 and 34.0 % cases in the 1994 and 2001 surveys, respectively. Intraoperative and postoperative complications were reported in 10.4 % and were slightly increased compared to 8.6 % in the earlier surveys (both p < 0.05). Diseases associated with a high incidence of complication included intramedullary tumor (29.3 %) and primary malignant tumor (22.0 %). The highest incidence of complication was dural tear (2.1 %), followed by neurological complication (1.4 %).

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