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Surg Neurol Int. 2017 Jun 13;8:107. doi: 10.4103/sni.sni_101_17. eCollection 2017.

Predominantly negative impact of diabetes on spinal surgery: A review and recommendation for better preoperative screening.

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Chief of Neurosurgical Spine and Education, NYU Winthrop Hospital, Mineola, New York, USA.



For patients undergoing spine surgery, the literature attributes significant increased perioperative risks/adverse events (AE) complications, longer length of stay (LOS), and higher 30-day readmission/reoperation rates to those with diabetes. Diabetics are often divided into those with insulin dependent diabetes (IDDM), and non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDD). However, other series also compare those with uncontrolled diabetes (UCDM) vs. those with controlled DM (CDM).


We found a marked variation in the size and quality of studies identified in PubMed regarding the impact of diabetes on spinal surgery (e.g., focusing on complications, AE, outcomes, morbidity, and mortality).


Of the 197,461 lumbar fusions in one NIS (Nationwide Inpatient Sample 1988-2003), 11,000 (5.6%) diabetics (DM) had higher infection rates, transfusion rates, more pneumonias, higher in-hospital mortality rates, greater costs, and longer LOS than those undergoing similar procedures without DM. For 3726 ACS-NSQIP patients undergoing anterior cervical fusions, 270 NIDDM had more urinary tract infections and returns to the operating room; the 171 IDDM required more reoperations, 30 day readmission, and longer LOS (by 5 days) vs. 3285 non DM. Of the 5627 patients undergoing posterior cervical fusions (ACS-NSQIP), 2029 (36.1%) had AE directly related to DM. In another NSQUIP study of 51277 patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery, IDDM and NIDDM demonstrated longer LOS, plus IDDM showed more surgical AE and 30 day readmissions vs. those with no DM.


Patients with IDDM or NIDDM undergoing spine surgery exhibited more perioperative complications/AE/morbidity, longer LOS, and higher readmission/reoperation rates vs. non DM.


Diabetes: spinal surgery; insulin dependent DM (IDDM); more adverse events; more complications; poorer outcomes: non-insulin dependent DM (NIDDM)

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