Influence of Sex on Early Outcomes of Elective Lumbar Fusions: An Updated Propensity-Matched and Subgroup Analysis

Safwan Alomari, Ann Liu, Erick Westbroek, Timothy Witham, Ali Bydon, Sheng fu Larry Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Existing data have demonstrated significant differences in morbidity and mortality measures between men and women undergoing various spinal surgeries. However, studies of lumbar fusion surgery have been limited. Thus, we investigated the effects of patient sex on 30-day perioperative outcomes after elective lumbar fusion spine surgery. Methods: Patients who had undergone lumbar fusion from 2015 to 2018 were reviewed from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Propensity score matching was used to determine whether the patient's sex had influenced the 30-day perioperative complications. Results: A total of 44,526 cases had met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. Of the 44,526 patients, 13,715 had undergone posterior lumbar fusion, 21,993 had undergone posterior/transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, and 8818 had undergone anterior/lateral lumbar interbody fusion. The women were more likely to be older, functionally dependent, and taking steroids for chronic conditions and to have a higher body mass index and lower preoperative hematocrit level. The men were more likely to be white, to smoke, and to have diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and bleeding disorders. In all cohorts, except for a higher incidence of urinary tract infection in the female patients and myocardial infarction in the male patients, no significant differences were found in morbidity and mortality between the sexes. Conclusions: Several differences in demographics and baseline health status were found between men and women undergoing lumbar fusion. When attempting to control for comorbid conditions using propensity score matching, we found that sex was an independent predictor of urinary tract infection in women and myocardial infarction in men across major morbidity and mortality categories in patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e388-e399
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Anterior/lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • Female
  • Male
  • Outcomes
  • Posterior lumbar fusion
  • Posterior/transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
  • Propensity score matching
  • Sex
  • Subgroup analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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