Risk Factors for Wound-Related Complications After Surgery for Primary and Metastatic Spine Tumors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Andrew T. Schilling, Jeff Ehresman, Sakibul Huq, A. Karim Ahmed, Daniel Lubelski, Ethan Cottrill, Zach Pennington, John H. Shin, Daniel M. Sciubba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: We systematically reviewed the literature to compare risk factors for postoperative complications at the surgical wound site in primary and metastatic tumor operations. Methods: We screened English-language publications on the outcomes of primary and metastatic spinal tumor operations. Pooled analyses and meta-analyses with random-effects modeling were performed comparing patients with and without wound complications, which were defined as surgical site infection or sterile wound dehiscence. Results: Our search identified 5471 unique citations, from which we included 23 studies describing 5104 patients. A total of 1936 patients underwent surgery for primary tumors, with a wound complication rate of 8.1%. Subgroup analysis of benign and malignant primary tumors yielded significantly different wound complication rates of 7.8% and 26.9%, respectively. The metastatic tumor cohort included 168 patients and a complication rate of 6.6%. In a pooled analysis of primary tumors, higher wound complication rates were associated with sacral operations and the use of instrumentation. In the metastatic tumor cohort, higher complication rates were associated with female sex, smoking history, preoperative chemotherapy, preoperative radiotherapy, corticosteroid use, and previous spine surgery. Instrumentation remained a statistically significant risk factor for primary tumors with the addition of random-effects meta-analysis. Conclusions: Risk factors for wound complications after primary tumor operations were related to tumor histology and the spinal location of the operation. Risk factors for metastatic tumors may be related to several systemic preoperative treatments and baseline comorbidities. Random-effects meta-analysis showed the limited generalizability of these findings because of the small heterogenous primary literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-478.e3
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Complication
  • Dehiscence
  • Infection
  • Spine
  • Tumor
  • Wound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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