European Spine Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 9, pp 2065–2068 | Cite as

Health care costs of incidental durotomies and postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks after elective spinal surgery

  • Clemens WeberEmail author
  • Jürgen Piek
  • David Gunawan
Original Article



To explore the additional health care costs of incidental durotomies and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks after elective surgery for degenerative spinal disorders.


Prospective, observational single-center study including all patients operated for a degenerative condition of the spine over a 13-month period. Incidental durotomies and cerebrospinal fluid leaks were registered prospectively and a detailed analysis of health care costs of each case was performed.


In total 239 patients were included; an incidental durotomy occured in ten patients and a postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak occured in one patient causing significantly higher hospital costs, as well as significantly longer hospital stay and operation time. While the hospital costs increased by nearly 50 % the hospitals reimbursement increased only by 21 % and this resulted in an average financial loss of 730 € per case.


Incidental durotomy or postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak after elective surgery for degenerative spinal disorders causes significantly higher health care costs.


Spinal surgery Complication Durotomy Cerebrospinal fluid leak Health care costs 


Conflict of interest

Costs for organizing the study and for statistical analysis were paid by Nycomed (now Takeda Inc., Osaka, Japan). Jürgen Piek held different paid lectures for Nycomed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of RostockRostockGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgerySt. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim University HospitalTrondheimNorway

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