Risk factors for dural tears: a study of elective spine surgery*

Meghan E. Murphy, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Brandon A. McCutcheon, Patrick R. Maloney, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Daniel Shepherd, Daniel S. Ubl, William E. Krauss, Elizabeth B. Habermann, Mohamad Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: This study moves beyond previous cohort studies and benchmark data by studying a population of elective spine surgery from a multicenter registry in an effort to validate, disprove, and/or identify novel risk factors for dural tears. Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis queried a multicenter registry for patients with degenerative spinal diagnoses undergoing elective spinal surgery from 2010–2014. Multivariable logistic regression analysis interrogated for independent risk factors of dural tears. Results: Of 104,930 patients, a dural tear requiring repair occurred in 0.6% of cases. On adjusted analysis, the following factors were independently associated with increased likelihood of a dural tear: ankylosing spondylitis vs. intervertebral disc disorders, greater than two levels, combined surgical approach and posterior approach vs. anterior approach, decompression only vs. fusion and decompression, age groups 85+, 75–84 and 65–74 vs. <65, obesity (BMI ≥30), corticosteroid use and preoperative platelet count <150,000. Conclusions: This multicenter study identifies novel risk factors for dural tears in the elective spine surgery population, including corticosteroids, thrombocytopenia, and ankylosing spondylitis. The results of this analysis provide further information for surgeons to use both in operative planning and in preoperative counseling when discussing the risk of dural tears.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-106
Number of pages10
JournalNeurological research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Dural tear
  • degenerative spine disease
  • elective spine surgery
  • incidental durotomy
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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