National Trends in Spinal Fusion Surgery for Neurofibromatosis

Etka Kurucan, David N. Bernstein, Caroline Thirukumaran, Amit Jain, Emmanuel Nganku Menga, Paul T. Rubery, Addisu Mesfin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Analysis of a national database. Objective: To analyze trends in spinal fusion surgery for neurofibromatosis type I (NF-1) patients and to compare the surgical approaches. Summary of Background Data: The preferred surgical approach for fusion treatment of spinal deformity in NF is not well established. Methods: We identified 548 patients with a diagnosis of NF-1 who had received spinal fusion surgery between 2003 and 2014. We compared posterior spinal fusion (PSF), anterior-posterior spinal fusion (APSF), and anterior spinal fusion with respect to patient demographics, institutional characteristics, in-hospital complications, and hospitalization lengths and costs. Significance was set at a value of p less than.05. Results: The number of spinal fusions for NF-1 significantly increased (p =.02) over the study period. The rate of PSF surgeries increased 2.9-fold, whereas the rate of APSF surgeries decreased 2.2-fold. There was also a significant association between the location of the fusion and surgical approach (p<.01), with 66% of ASF cases being cervical spine cases. Compared with patients undergoing PSF and ASF, patients undergoing APSF were significantly younger (p<.01) and had significantly higher hospitalization lengths and costs (p<.01). APSF costs were $180,714 as compared to $144,027 for PSF and $105,312 for ASF. Conclusions: There have been significant increases in the rate of spinal fusion surgeries for NF-1 patients. Surgical treatment has shifted over the years and is dependent on the location of the deformity. Patients undergoing APSF are significantly younger. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-718
Number of pages7
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Complications
  • Neurofibromatosis type I
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Fusion
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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