Objective: The management of cervical spine injuries in the elderly is often complicated by the presence of multiple medical comorbidities, and it is not uncommon for preoperative testing to reveal other conditions that require the postponement of surgery. However, the factors that affect the waiting time from injury to surgery have not been clarified. The purpose of this multicenter database study was to analyze the clinical features and identify the factors affecting the number of days waited between injury and surgery in elderly patients with a cervical spine injury. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the case histories of 1512 Japanese patients with a cervical spinal injury, who were seen at 33 institutions. After excluding patients who were not initially receiving a surgery for cervical spinal injury, 694 patients were ultimately analyzed. Based on a multivariate mixed model, we determined the factors related to the number of days from injury to surgery. Results: The mean time from injury to surgery was 12.3 days. Multivariate analysis revealed delays of 10.7 days for a renal disorder, 7.3 days for anticoagulant use, and 15.2 days for non-surgical thoracolumbar fracture as factors prolonging wait time. In contrast, a C3 or lower spine injury was significantly associated with a shortening of 9.5 days to surgery. Conclusions: This multicenter database study identified several factors influencing the time between injury and cervical spine surgery in elderly patients. While renal impairment, anticoagulant use, and non-surgical thoracolumbar fracture may increase the number of days to surgery, trauma to C3 or lower may expedite surgical treatment.
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