Differences in Short-Term Outcomes Between Primary and Revision Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

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Study Design.

Retrospective cohort study.


To compare short-term morbidity for primary and revision anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary of Background Data.

Revision ACDF procedures are relatively common, yet their risks are poorly characterized in the literature. There is a need to assess the relative risk of revision ACDF procedures compared with primary surgery.


The prospectively collected American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database was used to identify patients who underwent primary and revision ACDF from 2005 to 2014. The occurrence of 30-day postoperative complications, readmission, operative time, and postoperative length of stay were compared between primary and revision procedures using multivariate regression to control for patient and operative characteristics.


A total of 20,383 ACDF procedures were identified, 1219 (6.0%) of which were revision cases. On multivariate analysis, revision procedures were associated with significantly increased risk of any adverse event (relative risk [RR] 2.3, P < 0.001), any severe adverse event (RR 2.2, P < 0.001), thromboembolic events (RR 3.3, P = 0.001), surgical site infections (RR 3.2, P < 0.001), return to the operating room (RR 1.9, P = 0.001), any minor adverse event (RR 2.5, P < 0.001), and blood transfusion (RR 8.3, P < 0.001). Revision procedures had significantly increased risk of readmission within 30 days (RR = 1.6, P = 0.001). Minor, but statistically significant increases in average operative time and postoperative length of stay were identified for revisions procedures (7 min and half a day, respectively [P < 0.001 for both]).


Revision procedures were associated with significantly increased risk of multiple adverse outcomes, including thromboembolic events, surgical site infections, return to the operating room, blood transfusion, and readmission within 30 days. These results are important for patient counseling and risk stratification.


Level of Evidence: 3

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