Justin M. Lantz, Callie Roberts, Blake Formanek, Lori A. Michener, Raymond J. Hah, Jeffrey C. Wang, Zorica Buser

November 2022, pp 1 - 7 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-022-07466-7

First Online: 19 November 2022


To describe the incidence of complications associated with cervical spine surgery and post-operative physical therapy (PT), and to identify if the timing of initiation of post-operative PT impacts the incidence rates.


MOrtho PearlDiver database was queried using billing codes to identify patients who had undergone Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF), Posterior Cervical Fusion (PCF), or Cervical Foraminotomy and post-operative PT from 2010–2019. For each surgical procedure, patients were divided into three 12-week increments for post-operative PT (starting at post-operative weeks 2, 8, 12) and then matched based upon age, gender, and Charlson Comorbidity Index score. Each group was queried to determine complication rates and chi-square analysis with adjusted odds ratios, 95% confidence intervals, and p-values were used.


Following matching, 3,609 patients who underwent cervical spine surgery at one or more levels and had post-operative PT (ACDF:1784, PCF:1593, and cervical foraminotomy:232). The most frequent complications were new onset cervicalgia (2–14 weeks, 8–20 weeks, 12–24 weeks): ACDF (15.0%, 14.0%, 13.0%), PCF (18.8%, 18.0%, 19.9%), cervical foraminotomy (16.8%, 16.4%, 19.4%); revision: ADCF (7.9%, 8.2%, 7.4%), PCF (9.3%, 10.6%, 10.2%), cervical foraminotomy (11.6%, 10.8% and 13.4%); wound infection: ACDF (3.3%, 3.4%, 3.1%), PCF (8.3%, 8.0%,7.7%), cervical foraminotomy (5.2%, 6.5%, 


The most common post-operative complications included new onset cervicalgia, revision and wound infection. Complications rates were not impacted by the timing of initiation of PT whether at 2, 8, or 12 weeks post-operatively.

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