Editor’s Choice/Free Article: Impact of Body Mass Index on Adjacent Segment Disease After Lumbar Fusion for Degenerative Spine Disease

BACKGROUND: Adjacent segment disease is an important complication after fusion of degenerative lumbar spines. However, the role of body mass index (BMI) in adjacent segment disease has been addressed less.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between BMI and adjacent segment disease after lumbar fusion for degenerative spine diseases.

METHODS: For this retrospective study, we enrolled 190 patients undergoing lumbar fusion surgery for degeneration. BMI at admission was documented. Adjacent segment disease was defined by integration of the clinical presentations and radiographic criteria based on the morphology of the dural sac on magnetic resonance images.

RESULTS: Adjacent segment disease was identified in 13 of the 190 patients, accounting for 6.8%. The interval between surgery and diagnosis as adjacent segment disease ranged from 21 to 66 months. Five of the 13 patients required subsequent surgical intervention for clinically relevant adjacent segment disease. In the logistic regression model, BMI was a risk factor for adjacent segment disease after lumbar fusion for degenerative spine diseases (odds ratio, 1.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.27-2.21; P < .001). Any increase of 1 mean value in BMI would increase the adjacent segment disease rate by 67.6%. The patients were subdivided into 2 groups based on BMI, and up to 11.9% of patients with BMI ≥25 kg/m2 were diagnosed as having adjacent segment disease at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSION: BMI is a risk factor for adjacent segment disease in patients undergoing lumbar fusion for degenerative spine diseases. Because BMI is clinically objective and modifiable, controlling body weight before or after surgery may provide opportunities to reduce the rate of adjacent segment disease and to improve the outcome of fusion surgery.

From “Impact of Body Mass Index on Adjacent Segment Disease After Lumbar Fusion for Degenerative Spine Disease” by Chien-You Ou et al.

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