HealthDay News — The volume of cervical spine surgeries, as well as associated costs increased from 2002 to 2009, without a significant improvement in mortality, study findings show.

“Our analysis of cervical procedures performed from 2002 to 2009 revealed older patients and with more comorbid conditions undergoing cervical spine surgery than previous years,” Matthew Oglesby, of the Penn State University Medical Center in Hershey, and colleagues reported in Spine. “At the same time, this patient population demonstrated a significant increase in costs without a change in mortality rates.”

The researchers analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project to examine national trends in cervical spine procedures during the seven year period. An estimated 1,323,979 cervical spine surgeries were performed.

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The mean age of the patients increased during from 2002 to 2009, the researchers found. Most of the increase in surgical was due to anterior cervical fusions.

Significant increases in comorbidities and costs were observed in cohorts of patients undergoing anterior cervical fusion or posterior cervical fusion. Compared with these two cohorts, across all time periods, patients undergoing posterior cervical fusion had the highest mortality, increased comorbidities and costs and the longest hospitalizations.


  1. Oglesby M et al. Spine. 2013; 38(14):1226-1232.