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Complication Rate Relatively Low for Anterior Lumbar Surgery

Review shows overall complication rate of 14.1%, with most complications at rate of 1% to 3%

THURSDAY, May 21, 2015 (HealthDay News) — For patients undergoing anterior lumbar surgery (ALS), complications occur relatively infrequently, with a complication rate of 14.1 percent overall, according to a review published in the May 1 issue of The Spine Journal.

Dexter K. Bateman, from the Rothman Institute/Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine complications associated with ALS. Data were included from 76 articles which met the inclusion criteria and reported complication rates in 11,410 patients who underwent arthrodesis and/or arthroplasty via laparoscopic, mini-open, and open techniques.

The researchers found that the complication rate was 14.1 percent overall, with intraoperative and postoperative complication rates of 9.1 and 5.2 percent, respectively. Three percent of patients needed reoperation or revision procedures. Venous injury (3.2 percent), retrograde ejaculation (2.7 percent), neurologic injury (2 percent), prosthesis related (2 percent), postoperative ileus (1.4 percent), superficial infection (1 percent), and others (1.3 percent) were the most common complications reported. Higher complication rates were seen for laparoscopic and transperitoneal procedures, while lower complication rates were seen for patients receiving mini-open techniques.

“Overall complication rates with ALS are relatively low, with the most common complications occurring at a rate of 1 to 3 percent,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industries.

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