Qian Chen, Xiaoxin Zhong, Wenzhou Liu, Chipiu Wong, Qing He, Yantao Chen

October 2022, pp 1 - 12 Review Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07421-6

First Online: 19 October 2022


This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine the incidence of symptomatic spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) following spine surgery.


We systematically searched for all relevant articles that mentioned the incidence of SSEH following the spine surgery published in the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases through March 2022 and manually searched the reference lists of included studies. The Newcastle–Ottawa quality assessment scale (NOS) was used to assess the quality of the included studies. A fixed-effects or random-effects model was performed to calculate the pooled incidence of the totality and subgroups based on the heterogeneity. The potential publication bias was assessed by Egger's linear regression and a funnel plot. Sensitivity analysis was also conducted.


A total of 40 studies were included in our meta-analysis based on our inclusion and exclusion criteria. The overall pooled incidence of SSEH was 0.52% (95% CI 0.004–0.007). In the subgroup analysis, the pooled incidence of SSEH in males and females was 0.86% (95% CI 0.004–0.023) and 0.68% (95% CI 0.003–0.017). Among the different indications, a higher incidence (2.9%, 95% CI 0.006–0.084) was found in patients with deformity than degeneration (1.12%, 95% CI 0.006–0.020) and tumor (0.30%, 95% CI 0.006–0.084). For different surgical sites, the incidences of SSEH in cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine were 0.32% (95% CI 0.002–0.005), 0.84% (95% CI 0.004–0.017) and 0.63% (95% CI 0.004–0.010), respectively. The incidences of SSEH in anterior and posterior approach were 0.24% (95% CI 0.001–0.006) and 0.70% (95% CI 0.004–0.011), respectively. The pooled incidence of SSEH was five times higher with minimally invasive surgery (1.94%, 95% CI 0.009–0.043) than with open surgery (0.42%, 95% CI 0.003–0.006). Delayed onset of SSEH had a lower incidence of 0.16% (95% CI 0.001–0.002) than early onset. There were no significant variations in the incidence of SSEH between patients who received perioperative anticoagulation therapy and those who did not or did not report getting chemopreventive therapy (0.44%, 95% CI 0.006–0.084 versus 0.42%, 95% CI 0.003–0.006).


We evaluated the overall incidence proportion of SSEH after spine surgery and performed stratified analysis, including sex, surgical indication, site, approach, minimally invasive surgery, and delayed onset of SSEH. Our research would be helpful for patients to be accurately informed of their risk and for spinal surgeons to estimate the probability of SSEH after spine surgery.

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