Utilization and Economic Impact of Posterolateral Fusion and Posterior/Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion Surgeries in the United States

Comron Saifi, Alejandro Cazzulino, Joseph Laratta, Akshay V. Save, Jamal N. Shillingford, Philip K. Louie, Andrew J. Pugely, Vincent Arlet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective database study. Objective: To analyze the economic and age data concerning primary and revision posterolateral fusion (PLF) and posterior/transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF/TLIF) throughout the United States to improve value-based care and health care utilization. Methods: The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification codes for patients who underwent primary or revision PLF and PLIF/TLIF between 2011 and 2014. Age and economic data included number of procedures, costs, and revision burden. The National Inpatient Sample database represents a 20% sample of discharges from US hospitals weighted to provide national estimates. Results: From 2011 to 2014, the annual number of PLF and PLIF/TLIF procedures decreased 18% and increased 23%, respectively, in the Unites States. During the same period, the number of revision PLF decreased 19%, while revision PLIF/TLIF remained relatively unchanged. The average cost of PLF was lower than the average cost of PLIF/TLIF. The aggregate national cost for PLF was more than $3 billion, while PLIF/TLIF totaled less than $2 billion. Revision burden (ratio of revision surgeries to the sum of both revision and primary surgeries) remained constant at 8.0% for PLF while it declined from 3.2% to 2.9% for PLIF/TLIF. Conclusion: This study demonstrated a steady increase in PLIF/TLIF, while PLF alone decreased. The increasing number of PLIF/TLIF procedures may account for the apparent decline of PLF procedures. There was a higher average cost for PLIF/TLIF as compared with PLF. Revision burden remained unchanged for PLF but declined for PLIF/TLIF, implying a decreased need for revision procedures following the initial PLIF/TLIF surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • degenerative disc disease
  • fusion
  • low back pain
  • lumbar
  • lumbar interbody fusion
  • spondylolisthesis
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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