Effect of Smoking Status on Successful Arthrodesis, Clinical Outcome, and Complications After Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

Kevin Phan, Matthew Fadhil, Nicholas Chang, Gloria Giang, Cristian Gragnaniello, Ralph J. Mobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a surgical technique indicated for the treatment of several lumbar pathologies. Smoking has been suggested as a possible cause of reduced fusion rates after ALIF, although the literature regarding the impact of smoking status on lumbar spine surgery is not well established. This study aims to assess the impact of perioperative smoking status on the rates of perioperative complications, fusion, and adverse clinical outcomes in patients undergoing ALIF surgery. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on a prospectively maintained database of 137 patients, all of whom underwent ALIF surgery by the same primary spine surgeon. Smoking status was defined by the presence of active smoking in the 2 weeks before the procedure. Outcome measures included fusion rates, surgical complications, Short-Form 12, and Oswestry Disability Index. Results: Patients were separated into nonsmokers (n = 114) and smokers (n = 23). Univariate analysis demonstrated that the percentage of patients with successful fusion differed significantly between the groups (69.6% vs. 85.1%, P = 0.006). Pseudarthrosis rates were shown to be significantly associated with perioperative smoking. Results for other postoperative complications and clinical outcomes were similar for both groups. On multivariate analysis, the rate of failed fusion was significantly greater for smokers than nonsmokers (odds ratio 37.10, P = 0.002). Conclusions: The rate of successful fusion after ALIF surgery was found to be significantly lower for smokers compared with nonsmokers. No significant association was found between smoking status and other perioperative complications or adverse clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e998-e1003
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Arthrodesis
  • Fusion
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Pseudarthrosis
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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