Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Low vitamin D common in spine surgery patients

03.11.2011
Deficiency may hinder recovery

A new study indicates that many patients undergoing spine surgery have low levels of vitamin D, which may delay their recovery.

In a study of 313 patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery, orthopaedic surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that more than half had inadequate levels of vitamin D, including one-fourth who were more severely deficient.

The researchers report their findings today at the 26th Annual Meeting of the North American Spine Society. The study was chosen as one of the meeting's best papers.

"Our findings suggest it may be worthwhile to screen surgery patients for vitamin D," says Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, the study's principal investigator. "We think those with insufficient levels of vitamin D may benefit from taking 50,000 international units of the vitamin once a week for eight weeks before surgery as this may help the recovery after spinal fusion surgery."

Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, and patients with a deficiency can have difficulty producing new bone. They are at risk for a condition called osteomalacia. Unlike osteoporosis or osteopenia, which result from low bone mineral density, osteomalacia interferes with new bone formation.

All the patients in the study had spinal fusion surgery. In that procedure, surgeons remove discs between two or more vertebrae. The bones in the spine are then attached with hardware and treated with growth factors. As the spine heals, new bone begins to form, and the vertebrae fuse together.

Buchowski became aware of the vitamin D problem when a patient in her 40s experienced a slow recovery after spinal fusion surgery.

"I was examining her and trying to figure out why the vertebrae didn't fuse," he says. "She mentioned that she had recently been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, and it was like a 'light bulb' went off."

As a result, Buchowski, an associate professor of orthpaedic surgery and of neurological surgery, and his Washington University colleagues at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, started routinely screening spinal fusion surgery patients for vitamin D deficiency.

Low vitamin D levels are known to be common in elderly patients. Surprisingly in this study, the patients most likely to have inadequate levels of the bone-building vitamin were younger.

"We rarely think about deficiency in younger patients," Buchowski says. "More of the older patients in this study had a history of taking supplements, and as a result, they had less risk for vitamin D deficiency than younger patients."

Although an earlier study had shown inadequate vitamin D levels in 43 percent of patients undergoing orthopedic procedures, this is the first look solely at spine surgery patients.

Those in the study averaged 55 years of age, 56 percent were female, 41 percent were obese, and 95 percent were white. One quarter of the participants had taken vitamin D supplements in the past.

The researchers found that the main risk factors for inadequate vitamin D were smoking, obesity, disability prior to surgery and never having taken vitamin D or multivitamin supplements.

As a follow-up, Buchowski and his colleagues are planning a study to see whether there is a link between low vitamin D and poor outcomes following spinal fusion. In the meantime, he's recommending that patients having orthopedic surgery ensure they're getting enough vitamin D.

Sun exposure is one of the best ways to get the body to produce vitamin D. He also recommends that if they are not getting enough vitamin D, patients consume dairy products fortified with the vitamin and begin taking a vitamin D supplement prior to and following surgery.

"Vitamin D is inexpensive and easily stored in the body," Buchowski says. "My hunch is that having adequate levels may help the spine fuse following surgery."

To maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism, the Institute of Medicine established a recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D of 600 international units. Buchowski says patients should work with their doctors to determine what supplemental level is appropriate for them.

Stoker GE, Buchowski JM, Bridwell KH, Lenke LG, Riew KD, Zebala LP, Vitamin D status of adults undergoing surgical spinal fusion. Presented Nov. 3 at the 26th Annual Meeting of the North American Spine Society in Chicago, Ill.

Washington University School of Medicine's 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

More than 3,200 spine professionals will meet at the NASS 26th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Nov. 2-5, 2011, at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center. NASS is a multidisciplinary medical organization dedicated to fostering the highest quality, evidence-based and ethical spine care by promoting education, research and advocacy. NASS is comprised of more than 6,700 members from several disciplines including orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, physiatry, neurology, radiology, anesthesiology, research, physical therapy and other spine care professionals. For more information, visit http://www.spine.org and find NASS on NASS Facebook and NASS Twitter

Jim Dryden | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu
http://www.spine.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>