Risk factors for readmissions following anterior lumbar interbody fusion

Kevin Phan*, Nathan J. Lee, Parth Kothari, Jun S. Kim, Samuel K. Cho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Study design: Retrospective study of prospectively collected data 

Objective: To analyze the incidence and risk factors for readmissions following anterior lumbar interbody fusion. 

Summary of background data: No study has yet reported readmission rates for a specific lumbar surgical approach. There is evidence to indicate differences in perioperative complication rates between anterior versus posterior lumbar interbody fusion techniques, which may translate into differences in readmission rates. 

Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) is a large multicenter clinical registry that prospectively collects preoperative risk factors, intraoperative variables, and 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality outcomes from about 400 hospitals nationwide. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes were used to query the database for adults who underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion. Patients were separated into groups of those with and without 30-day readmissions. Univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression were used to analyze the effect of different risk factors on 30-day readmissions. 

Results: Multivariate analysis showed that morbid obesity (OR 15.6, P=0.002) and alcohol use (OR 16.9, P=0.004) independently predicted unplanned 30-day readmission. Sex, pulmonary comorbidity, cardiac comorbidity and steroid use were not found to be significant independent predictors of unplanned 30-day readmission in anterior lumbar interbody fusion. 

Conclusion: Adult patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion who were morbidly obese and had history of alcohol use are at increased risk for 30-day readmissions. Future studies should look to directly compare readmission rates and risk factors between alternative lumbar interbody surgical approaches with longer follow-up and more clinical and radiological parameters investigated. 

Level of Evidence: 3

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364–369
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • complications
  • database
  • fusion
  • lumbar
  • National Surgical Quality Improvement Project
  • outcomes
  • readmissions
  • retrospective
  • risk factors


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