Outcomes Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion in Patients With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Global Spine J. 2024 Jul;14(6):1699-1705. doi: 10.1177/21925682231151924. Epub 2023 Jan 16.


Study design: Retrospective database analysis.

Objectives: To study postoperative complication rates following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) compared with patients without EDS.

Methods: The Mariner database was utilized to identify patients with EDS undergoing one or two level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Postoperative short-term outcomes assessed included medical complications, readmissions, and ED-visits within 90 days of surgery. Additionally, surgical complications including wound complications, surgical site infection, one- and two-year anterior revision along with posterior revision, pseudarthrosis, and hardware failure within 2 years were assessed. Multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for demographic variables, comorbidities and number of levels operated on.

Results: The present study identified 533 patients in the EDS group and 2634 patients in the matched control group. EDS patients undergoing ACDF are at an increased risk for 90-day major medical complications (OR 3.31; P < .001). EDS patients were also found to be associated with surgical complications including wound complications (OR 2.94; P < .001), surgical site infection (OR 8.60; P < .001) within 90 days, pseudarthrosis (OR 2.33; P < .001), instrument failure (OR 4.03; P < .001), anterior revision (OR 22.87; P < .001), and posterior revision (OR 3.17; P < .001) within 2 years.

Conclusions: EDS is associated with higher rates of both medical and surgical complications following ACDF. Spine surgeons should be cognizant of the increased risks in this population to provide appropriate preoperative counseling and enhanced perioperative medical management.

Keywords: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; anterior cervical discectomy and fusion; complication rate.