Background: Lumbar decompressive surgery can be complicated by dural tears, infection, nerve root injury, deep venous thrombosis, and epidural hematoma. However, perioperative complications of multilevel laminectomies in patients with achondroplasia rarely are reported. Our objective was to determine the perioperative complication rates associated with laminectomies in patients with achondroplasia.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records of the initial laminectomies for all ninety-eight patients with achondroplasia at our institution, which included twenty-eight patients who had had previous spine surgeries at other institutions, and determined the rates of complications in the following categories: neurologic, pulmonary, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal complications; intraoperative dural tears; infections at the incision site; and mortality.
Results: Sixty (61%) of ninety-eight patients had at least one perioperative complication. By category, these included intraoperative dural tears, which occurred in 37% (thirty-six patients); neurologic complications, in 23% (twenty-three patients); infections at the incision site, in 9% (nine patients); deep venous thrombosis, in 3% (three patients); pulmonary complications, in 3% (three patients); and gastrointestinal complications, in 3% (three patients). The only death was caused by a pulmonary embolism.
Conclusions: Perioperative complications are common in patients with achondroplasia undergoing multilevel laminectomies, and the perioperative care team should be aware of these complications when caring for these patients.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.