Total Disc Arthroplasty Versus Anterior Interbody Fusion in the Lumbar Spine Have Relatively a Few Differences in Readmission and Short-term Adverse Events

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Study Design.Retrospective matched cohort study of prospectively collected data.Objective.To compare rates of adverse events and readmission between lumbar total disc arthroplasty (TDA) and anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database.Summary of Background Data.TDA and ALIF may be considered for similar degenerative indications. However, there have been a few large-cohort comparison studies of short-term clinical outcomes for these procedures.Methods.The 2011−2015 NSQIP databases were retrospectively queried to identify patients who underwent elective stand-alone ALIF and TDA. After propensity matching, the association of procedure type with adverse events and readmission was determined using McNemar's test. Operative time and postoperative length of stay (LOS) were compared using multivariate linear regression. Risk factors for adverse events were determined using multivariate Poisson regression.Results.In total, 1801 ALIF and 255 TDA patients were identified. After matching with propensity scores, there were no significant differences in the rates of any adverse event, serious adverse events, individual adverse events, or readmission other than blood transfusion, which occurred more frequently in the ALIF cohort (3.92% vs. 0.39%, P = 0.007). Operative time was not significantly different between the two cohorts, but postoperative LOS was significantly longer for ALIF cases (+0.28 days, P < 0.001). When evaluating 10 preoperative variables as potential risk factors for adverse events and readmission after TDA and ALIF, the majority of results were similar.Conclusion.The only identified differences in perioperative outcomes between TDA and ALIF were a 3.53% higher incidence of blood transfusion and 0.28-day longer LOS for the ALIF group. These results suggest overall similar short-term general-health outcomes between the two groups, and that the choice between the two procedures, for the appropriately selected patient, should be based on longer-term functional outcomes.Level of Evidence: 3

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