Spinal fusion surgery is an operation that involves the fusion of two spinal vertebrae together. The operation can be performed to treat a number of different conditions, like degenerative disc disease or herniated discs. These two conditions generally affect older populations because they are typically caused by microtrauma on the spine experienced over decades of living.
However, older adults aren’t the only ones who undergo spinal fusion. Whether it be from a developmental deformity or due to a traumatic injury, thousands of children undergo a spinal fusion operation every year. Recently, a nationwide study took a look at a number of aspects of pediatric spinal fusions. Today, we explore their findings.
Spinal Fusion Operation In Children
For the study, researchers looked at the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, which had a record of more than 74,500 pediatric spinal fusions that were performed between 2002 and 2011. Of those fusions, 72,483 were primary fusion procedures and 2,024 were revision fusion procedures. After analyzing the data, here’s what the authors uncovered:
- The length of hospital stay for children was much higher if they were undergoing a revision procedure. On average, kids in the primary care group spent 6.6 days in the medical center post-op, compared to nearly eight days in the revision group.
- 8.6 percent of kids in the primary surgery group developed at least one complication, compared to 16.7 percent of kids in the revision spinal fusion group.
- The most common complications suffered by the revision group compared to the primary care group were: reintubation (4.3% vs. 2.3%), hemorrhage or hematoma (5% vs. 2.5%), would complications (4% vs. 1.1%), accident vessel or nerve puncture (2.6% vs. 0.8%), implant-related complications (5.3% vs. 0.4%) and incidental durotomy (2.1% vs. 0.3%).
- Aside from undergoing a revision procedure, other risk factors for developing a complication include being male and having a fusion performed at eight or more levels.
So as you can see, problems can develop during a spinal fusion operation, but this is especially true if your child needs a revisional operation. That’s why it is so important that your child has an experienced and knowledagble surgical team working on their spine. We have performed numerous pediatric spinal fusions. and we’re confident that your child is in good hands at our facility. To learn more about what we have to offer, click here to contact our clinic.