Background: Patients with diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH) are susceptible to spinal column injuries with neurological deterioration. Previous studies indicated that the prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) in patients with DISH was higher than that in patients without DISH. This study investigates the impact of DM on surgical outcomes for spinal fractures in patients with DISH. Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 177 spinal fractures in patients with DISH (132 men and 45 women; mean age, 75 ± 10 years) who underwent surgery from a multicenter database. The subjects were classified into two groups according to the presence of DM. Perioperative complications, neurological status by Frankel grade, mortality rate, and status of surgical site infection (SSI) were compared between the two groups. Results: DM was present in 28.2% (50/177) of the patients. The proportion of men was significantly higher in the DM group (DM group: 86.0% vs. non-DM group: 70.1%) (p = 0.03). The overall complication rate was 22.0% in the DM group and 19.7% in the non-DM group (p = 0.60). Poisson regression model revealed that SSI was significantly associated with DM (DM group: 10.0% vs. non-DM group: 2.4%, Relative risk: 4.5) (p = 0.048). Change in neurological status, mortality rate, instrumentation failure, and nonunion were similar between both groups. HbA1c and fasting blood glucose level (SSI group: 7.2% ± 1.2%, 201 ± 67 mg/dL vs. non-SSI group: 6.6% ± 1.1%, 167 ± 47 mg/dL) tended to be higher in patients with SSI; however, there was no significant difference. Conclusions: In spinal fracture in patients with DISH, although DM was an associated factor for SSI with a relative risk of 4.5, DM did not negatively impact neurological recovery. Perioperative glycemic control may be useful for preventing SSI because fasting blood glucose level was high in patients with SSI.
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