Vitamin D's association with spinal fusion non-unions: 5 things to know

Laura Dyrda -  

A new study published in Spine examines the association between perioperative vitamin D levels and non-union rates after elective spinal fusion.

There were 133 patients involved in the study with the cervical spine fused in 49 percent of the patients and the lumbar spine fused in 47 percent of the patients. The thoracic spine was fused in 4 percent of the patients.


Here are five key findings from the study:


1. There were 31 patients — 23 percent — who had a vitamin D deficiency at the time of surgery. There were 84 percent of the patients who showed fusion eight months after surgery.


2. After 12 months, there was an association between non-unions and vitamin D deficiency. Twenty percent of the patients with adequate vitamin D reported non-unions while 38 percent of the vitamin D-deficient patients reported non-unions.


3. The time to union was significantly longer — 12 months — for the vitamin D-deficient patients compared with six months for the non-deficient patients.


4. The vitamin D deficiency as an independent predictor of non-union held up when adjusting for age, sex, obesity, fusion length, location, graft type, smoking and bone morphogenetic protein use.


5. The researchers concluded their "results offer insight into the importance of the metabolic milieu for bony fusion as well as a potential avenue for therapeutic intervention."


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