This study carried out a retrospective review of prospectively collected registry data.
This study aimed to determine whether (1) utilization rates; (2) demographics and preoperative statuses; and (3) clinical outcomes differ among Chinese, Malays, and Indians undergoing minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF).
Summary of Background Data:
There is a marked racial disparity in spine surgery outcomes between white and African American patients. Comparative studies of ethnicity have mostly been carried out in American populations, with an underrepresentation of Asian ethnic groups. It is unclear whether these disparities exist among Chinese, Malays, and Indians.
A prospectively maintained registry was reviewed for 753 patients who underwent primary MIS-TLIF for degenerative spondylolisthesis between 2006 and 2013. The cohort was stratified by race. Comparisons of demographics, functional outcomes, and patient satisfaction were performed preoperatively and 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 2 years postoperatively.
Compared with population statistics, there was an overrepresentation of Chinese (6.6%) and an underrepresentation of Malays (5.0%) and Indians (3.5%) who underwent MIS-TLIF. Malays and Indians were younger and had higher body mass index at the time of surgery compared with Chinese. After adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index, Malays had significantly worse back pain and Indians had poorer Short-Form 36 Physical Component Summary compared with Chinese preoperatively. Chinese also had a better preoperative Oswestry Disability Index compared with the other races. Although significant differences remained at 1 month, there was no difference in outcomes up to 2 years postoperatively, except for a lower Physical Component Summary in Indians compared with Chinese at 2 years. The rate of minimal clinically important difference attainment, satisfaction, and expectation fulfillment was also comparable. At 2 years, 87.0% of Chinese, 76.9% of Malays, and 91.7% of Indians were satisfied.
The variations in demographics, preoperative statuses, and postoperative outcomes between races should be considered when interpreting outcome studies of lumbar spine surgery in Asian populations.
Level of Evidence:
Level III—nonrandomized cohort study.