Cannabis Users Less Likely to Face Complications After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Cannabis Users Less Likely to Face Complications After Spinal Fusion Surgery
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While there is limited literature examining the potential connection, a team of orthopedic specialists sought further answers. They ultimately found that patients with a history of cannabis use are indeed less likely than non-users to experience adverse medical outcomes after thoracolumbar (lower back) spinal fusion (TLF) surgery. The study, “The Impact of Isolated Baseline Cannabis Use on Outcomes Following Thoracolumbar Spinal Fusion: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis” was recently published in The Iowa Orthopedic Journal. The orthopedic specialists, affiliated with the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, analyzed the relationship between cannabis use and surgical outcomes with a 704-patient cohort, all undergoing TLF surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD). Researchers queried the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System database between January 2009 and September 2013 to identify all patients who underwent TLF for ASD. To be included, individuals were over the age of 18 and had either minimum 90-day or two-year follow-up surveillance. According to the researchers, ASD is a spectrum of disorders presenting in late adolescence or adulthood and includes adult spinal scoliosis, iatrogenic spinal deformity and primary degenerative sagittal imbalance. The authors note that, as life expectancies increase, the prevalence of ASD is rising and more surgical corrections are expected to occur in the future. “With shifting public sentiment, expanding decriminalization, and a lack of objective data on the potential consequences of cannabis use, it is imperative to identify how baseline cannabis use impacts postoperative outcomes of patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD) undergoing thoracolumbar fusion (TLF),” the study reads. Half of the sample identified themselves as cannabis consumers and the other half did not. The study looked to compare 90-day complication, 90-day readmission, and two-year revision rates between cannabis users and non-users. Cannabis consumers experienced significantly lower rates of medical…

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