Does Preoperative Bone Mineral Density Impact Fusion Success in Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery? A Prospective Cohort Study

Zachariah W. Pinter, Jad Bou Monsef, Harold I. Salmons, Arjun S. Sebastian, Brett A. Freedman, Bradford L. Currier, Benjamin D. Elder, Ahmad N. Nassr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors for pseudarthrosis in patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with a focus on the role of bone mineral density (BMD) on arthrodesis. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed a prospectively collected database of patients undergoing 1- to 4-level ACDF for degenerative indications between 2012 and 2018 at a single institution. All patients were required to have undergone a preoperative dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. Fusion status was assessed on computed tomography (CT) scans obtained 1 year postoperatively. Patients were divided into subgroups based on fusion status and compared on the basis of demographic, BMD, and surgical variables to determine risk factors for pseudarthrosis. Results: We identified 79 patients for inclusion in this study. Fusion was achieved in 65 patients (82%), while 14 patients (18%) developed pseudarthrosis. The pseudarthrosis subgroup demonstrated significantly lower BMD than their counterparts who achieved successful fusion in both mean hip (–1.4 ± 1.2 vs. –0.2 ± 1.2, respectively; P = 0.002) and spine T-scores (–0.8 ± 1.8 vs. 0.6 ± 1.9, respectively; P = 0.02). The pseudarthrosis group had a substantially higher proportion of patients with osteopenia (57.1% vs. 20.0%) and osteoporosis (21.5% vs. 6.2%; P < 0.001) than the fusion group. Multivariate analysis demonstrated osteopenia (odds ratio [OR] 8.76, P = 0.04), osteoporosis (OR 9.97, P = 0.03), and low BMD (OR 11.01, P = 0.002) to be associated with an increased likelihood of developing pseudarthrosis. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that both osteopenia and osteoporosis are associated with increased rates of pseudarthrosis in patients undergoing elective ACDF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e830-e834
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • ACDF
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Bone mineral density
  • CT
  • Computed tomography
  • DEXA
  • Pseudarthrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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