Long-Term Results of Lumbar Spine Surgery Complicated by Unintended Incidental Durotomy

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Unintended incidental durotomy is not an infrequent complication of spinal surgery (incidence, 0.3-13% reported). Although prompt repair is advocated, little has been written regarding any consequences of primarily repaired durotomles on long-term patient outcome. A retrospective review of 450 patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery revealed 17 cases (4%) of incidental durotomy, recognized intraoperatively and repaired primarily. These patients were evaluated at long-term follow-up (mean, 25.1 months); and their results were compared with controls matched for age, diagnosis, procedure, and length of follow-up. No differences of statistical significance could be identified in comparing the outcomes of the two groups. Incidental durotomy, when recognized and repaired intraoperatively, does not increase perioperative morbidity or compromise final result.

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