Is There a Correlation Between Preoperative or Postoperative Vitamin D Levels with Pseudarthrosis, Hardware Failure, and Revisions After Lumbar Spine Fusion?

Chester J. Donnally, Jonathan I. Sheu, Kevin J. Bondar, Joelle N. Mouhanna, Deborah J. Li, Alexander J. Butler, Augustus J. Rush, Joseph Gjolaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Vitamin D deficiency is a well-known cause of postoperative complications in patients undergoing orthopedic surgery. Orthopedic complications seen in vitamin D deficiency include nonunion, pseudarthrosis, and hardware failure. We seek to investigate the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and outcomes after lumbar spinal fusions. Methods: A retrospective patient chart review was conducted at a single center for all patients who underwent lumbar spinal fusions from January 2015 to September 2017 with preoperative or postoperative vitamin D laboratory values. We recorded demographics, social history, medications, pre-existing medical conditions, bone density (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) T-scores, procedural details, 1-year postoperative Visual Analog Score (VAS), documented pseudarthrosis, revisions, and hardware failure. A total of 150 patients were initially included in the cohort for analysis. Results: Overall, preoperative and postoperative vitamin D levels were not significantly associated with a vast majority of the patient characteristics studied, including comorbidities, medications, or surgical diagnoses (P > 0.05). Age at surgery was significantly associated with vitamin D levels; older patients had higher serum levels of vitamin D both preoperatively (P = 0.03) and postoperatively (P = 0.01). Those with a higher average body mass index had lower vitamin D in both groups (P = 0.02). Vitamin D levels were not significantly associated with rates of postoperative pseudarthrosis, revision, or hardware complications (P > 0.05). VAS pain score at 1 year and smoking status preoperatively or postoperatively were not associated with vitamin D levels (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Both preoperative and postoperative vitamin D levels were not significantly associated with an increased or decreased risk of pseudarthrosis, revision surgery, hardware failure, or 1-year VAS pain score after lumbar spine fusion surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Hardware failure
  • Outcomes
  • Pseudoarthrosis
  • Spine fusion
  • Spine surgery
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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