Incidence of unintended durotomy in spine surgery based on 108,478 cases.
Unintended durotomy is a common complication of spinal surgery. However, the incidences reported in the literature vary widely and are based primarily on relatively small case numbers from a single surgeon or institution.
To provide spine surgeons with a reliable incidence of unintended durotomy in spinal surgery and to assess various factors that may influence the risk of durotomy.
We assessed 108,478 surgical cases prospectively submitted by members of the Scoliosis Research Society to a deidentified database from 2004 to 2007.
Unintended durotomy occurred in 1.6% (1745 of 108 478) of all cases. The incidence of unintended durotomy ranged from 1.1% to 1.9% on the basis of preoperative diagnosis, with the highest incidence among patients treated for kyphosis (1.9%) or spondylolisthesis (1.9%) and the lowest incidence among patients treated for scoliosis (1.1%). The most common indication for spine surgery was degenerative spinal disorder, and among these patients, there was a lower incidence of durotomy for cervical (1.0%) vs thoracic (2.2%; P = .01) or lumbar (2.1%, P < .001) cases. Scoliosis procedures were further characterized by etiology, with the highest incidence of durotomy in the degenerative subgroup (2.2% vs 1.1%; P < .001). Durotomy was more common in revision compared with primary surgery (2.2% vs 1.5%; P < .001) and was significantly more common among elderly (> 80 years of age) patients (2.2% vs 1.6%; P = .006). There was a significant association between unintended durotomy and development of a new neurological deficit (P < .001).
Unintended durotomy occurred in at least 1.6% of spinal surgeries, even among experienced surgeons. Our data provide general benchmarks of durotomy rates and serve as a basis for ongoing efforts to improve safety of care.
Williams, BJ; Sansur, CA; Smith, JS; Berven, SH; Broadstone, PA; Choma, TJ; Goytan, MJ; Noordeen, HH; Knapp, DR; Hart, RA; Zeller, RD; Donaldson, WF; Polly, DW; Perra, JH; Boachie-Adjei, O; Shaffrey, CI
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)