Does diabetes affect outcome or reoperation rate after lumbar decompression or arthrodesis? A matched analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database data set.



Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a known risk factor for postsurgical and systemic complications after lumbar spinal surgery. Smaller studies have also demonstrated diminished improvements in patient-reported outcomes (PROs), with increased reoperation and readmission rates after lumbar surgery in patients with DM. The authors aimed to examine longer-term PROs in patients with DM undergoing lumbar decompression and/or arthrodesis for degenerative pathology.


The Quality Outcomes Database was queried for patients undergoing elective lumbar decompression and/or arthrodesis for degenerative pathology. Patients were grouped into DM and non-DM groups and optimally matched in a 1:1 ratio on 31 baseline variables, including the number of operated levels. Outcomes of interest were readmissions and reoperations at 30 and 90 days after surgery in addition to improvements in Oswestry Disability Index, back pain, and leg pain scores and quality-adjusted life-years at 90 days after surgery.


The matched decompression cohort comprised 7836 patients (3236 [41.3] females) with a mean age of 63.5 ± 12.6 years, and the matched arthrodesis cohort comprised 7336 patients (3907 [53.3%] females) with a mean age of 64.8 ± 10.3 years. In patients undergoing lumbar decompression, no significant differences in nonroutine discharge, length of stay (LOS), readmissions, reoperations, and PROs were observed. In patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis, nonroutine discharge (15.7% vs 13.4%, p < 0.01), LOS (3.2 ± 2.0 vs 3.0 ± 3.5 days, p < 0.01), 30-day (6.5% vs 4.4%, p < 0.01) and 90-day (9.1% vs 7.0%, p < 0.01) readmission rates, and the 90-day reoperation rate (4.3% vs 3.2%, p = 0.01) were all significantly higher in the DM group. For DM patients undergoing lumbar arthrodesis, subgroup analyses demonstrated a significantly higher risk of poor surgical outcomes with the open approach.


Patients with and without DM undergoing lumbar spinal decompression alone have comparable readmission and reoperation rates, while those undergoing arthrodesis procedures have a higher risk of poor surgical outcomes up to 90 days after surgery. Surgeons should target optimal DM control preoperatively, particularly for patients undergoing elective lumbar arthrodesis.





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Publication Info

Mooney, James, Karim Rizwan Nathani, Daniel Zeitouni, Giorgos D Michalopoulos, Michael Y Wang, Domagoj Coric, Andrew K Chan, Daniel C Lu, et al. (2023). Does diabetes affect outcome or reoperation rate after lumbar decompression or arthrodesis? A matched analysis of the Quality Outcomes Database data set. Journal of neurosurgery. Spine. pp. 1–12. 10.3171/2023.9.spine23522 Retrieved from

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Oren N Gottfried

Professor of Neurosurgery

I specialize in the surgical management of all complex cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or sacral spinal diseases by using minimally invasive as well as standard approaches for arthritis or degenerative disease, deformity, tumors, and trauma. I have a special interest in the treatment of thoracolumbar deformities, occipital-cervical problems, and in helping patients with complex spinal issues from previously unsuccessful surgery or recurrent disease.I listen to my patients to understand their symptoms and experiences so I can provide them with the information and education they need to manage their disease. I make sure my patients understand their treatment options, and what will work best for their individual condition. I treat all my patients with care and concern – just as I would treat my family. I am available to address my patients' concerns before and after surgery.  I aim to improve surgical outcomes for my patients and care of all spine patients with active research evaluating clinical and radiological results after spine surgery with multiple prospective databases. I am particularly interested in prevention of spinal deformity, infections, complications, and recurrent spinal disease. Also, I study whether patient specific variables including pelvic/sacral anatomy and sagittal spinal balance predict complications from spine surgery.

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