Patient-rated Outcomes of Lumbar Fusion in Patients with Degenerative Disease of the Lumbar Spine: Does Age Matter?

Marbacher, S; Mannion, A.F.; Burkhardt, J.K.; Schär, R. T.; Porchet, F; Kleinstück, F; Jeszenszky, D; Fekete, T.F.; Haschtmann, D (2014). Patient-rated Outcomes of Lumbar Fusion in Patients with Degenerative Disease of the Lumbar Spine: Does Age Matter? Journal of neurological surgery. Part A, Central European neurosurgery, 75(S 02), p. 28. Thieme 10.1055/s-0034-1383764

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Introduction: Current demographic changes are characterized by population aging, such that the surgical treatment of degenerative spine conditions in the elderly is gaining increasing relevance. However, there is a general reluctance to consider spinal fusion procedures in this patient age group due to the increased likelihood of complications. The aim of this study was to assess the patient-rated outcome and complication rates associated with lumbar fusion procedures in three different age groups.

Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from consecutive patients who underwent first-time, one to three level posterior instrumented fusion between 2004 and 2011, due to degenerative disease of the lumbar spine. Data were obtained from our Spine Surgery Outcomes Database (linked to the International Spine Tango Register). Before surgery, patients completed the multidimensional Core Outcome Measures Index (COMI), and at 3 and 12 months after surgery they completed the COMI and rated the Global Treatment Outcome (GTO) and their satisfaction with care. Patients were divided into three groups according to their age: younger (≥50y <65y; n = 317), older (≥65y <80y; n = 350), and geriatric (≥ 80y; n = 40).

Results: 707 consecutive patients were included. The preoperative comorbidity status differed significantly (p < 0.0001) between the age groups, with the highest scores in the geriatric group. General medical complications during surgery were lower in the younger age group (7%) than in the older (13.4%; p = 0.006) and geriatric groups (17.5%; p = 0.007). Duration of hospital stay was longer (p = 0.006) in the older group (10.8 ± 3.7 days) than the younger (10.0 ± 3.6 days) group. There were no significant group differences (p>0.05) for any of the COMI domains covering pain, function, symptom specific well-being, general quality of life, and social and work disability at either 3 months’ or 12 months’ follow-up. Similarly, there were no differences (p>0.05) between the age groups for GTO and patient-rated satisfaction at either follow-up.

Conclusions: Preoperative comorbidity and general medical complications during lumbar fusion for degenerative disorders of the lumbar spine are both greater in geriatric patients than in younger patients. However, patient-rated outcome is as good in the elderly as it is in younger age groups. These data suggest that geriatric age per se is not a contraindication to instrumented fusion for lumbar degenerative disease.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurosurgery

UniBE Contributor:

Schär, Ralph Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Nicole Söll

Date Deposited:

17 Mar 2015 10:09

Last Modified:

10 Jun 2020 10:28

Publisher DOI:



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