(HealthDay News) – Undergoing spinal fusion surgery does not affect the risk of stroke within the three years after surgery, according to a study published in the December issue of the European Spine Journal.

Jau-Ching Wu, MD, from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues compared the incidence and risk of stroke in 2,015 individuals who underwent posterior lumbar spinal fusion surgery and 16,120 age-, sex-, and propensity score-matched controls.

During three years of follow-up, the researchers found that the overall stroke rate was 9.99 per 1,000 person-years. The risk of stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, or ischemic stroke was lower in the lumbar spinal fusion group but the differences did not reach statistical significance.

“It seems unlikely that posterior lumbar fusion increases the risk of stroke compared to matched patients,” Wu and colleagues conclude. “Exclusion of patients as candidates for lumbar fusion due to fear of postoperative stroke is not supported by our data.”

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