The incidence of adjacent segment disease after lumbar discectomy: A study of 751 patients

Mohamad Bydon, Mohamed Macki, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Timothy F. Witham, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ali Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction The objective of this study is to determine the incidence and prognostic factors of adjacent segment disease (ASD) following first-time lumbar discectomy (LD). Methods We retrospectively reviewed all neurosurgical patients who underwent first-time LD for degenerative lumbar disease from 1990 to 2012. ASD was defined as a clinical and radiographic progression of degenerative spinal disease that required surgical decompression (with or without fusion) at the level above or below the index discectomy. Adjusted odds ratios were calculated from multivariable logistical regression controlling for sex and age, as well as postoperative sensory deficit, motor deficit, back pain, neurogenic claudication, and radiculopathy. Results Of the 751 patients who underwent single-level LD, the cumulative reoperation rate for degenerative spinal disease was 10.79%. The incidence of ASD requiring reoperation was 4% over 3.11 years. More specifically, the incidence of adjacent level discectomy was 1.86% over 3.45 years. The annualized reoperation rate for ASD was 1.35% (1.35 ASD reoperations per 100 person-years). The 63.33% incidence of cranial ASD requiring reoperation was statistically significantly higher than the 40.00% incidence of caudal ASD requiring reoperation. Following multivariable logistical regression, the strongest (and only) statistically significant predictor of ASD requiring reoperation was lower extremity radiculopathy after the index discectomy operation (OR = 14.23, p < 0.001). Conclusions In the first series on ASD following first-time LD without fusion, the rate of reoperation for ASD was 4% and the cumulative reoperation rate 10.79%. Rostral ASD is more common than caudal ASD and lower extremity radiculopathy is the strongest predictor of ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-46
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Adjacent level discectomy
  • Adjacent segment disease
  • Lumbar discectomy
  • Reoperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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