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Life in Motion

Under Investigation: Can Your Vitamin D Levels Help Predict a Successful Spinal Fusion?

Health & Prevention

You may have seen vitamin D in the news lately as evidence is growing that it is not only important for muscle and bone health, but may help with everything from protecting against certain cancers to reducing the risk of colds.

A team of researchers* at NEBH are doing their own vitamin D investigation to find out if vitamin D levels can predict a successful spinal fusion. There is evidence that a significant number of patients treated for joint replacement or spinal fusion surgery are either vitamin D insufficient or deficient. The goal of the study is to better understand how vitamin D levels change around surgery and whether vitamin D levels correlate with successful spine surgery.

To find out if vitamin D can predict a successful spinal fusion, the following research will be conducted:

  • Participants will undergo blood draws to check vitamin D levels prior to surgery, on the day after surgery, and at normal follow up visits with their surgeon.
  • Brief questionnaires will be filled out by participants before surgery and after surgery.
  • Demographic and health data will be reviewed.
  • At the one year follow up, a CAT scan of the spine will be completed to assess for a solid fusion.

Vitamin D levels throughout the study will be double-blinded, meaning that neither the patient nor surgeon will know the results while the study is being conducted.

If vitamin D levels are found to affect successful spinal fusion, it would drive the need for a future clinical trial to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation should be considered in those undergoing spinal fusion.

If you are looking to increase your vitamin D intake, milk, swordfish, salmon, and tuna are good sources of vitamin D. Skin exposure to short periods of sunlight is also an important means of helping your body produce Vitamin D.

*Principal Investigator: Scott Tromanhauser, MD
Co-Investigators/Coordinators: David Kim, MD, Brian Kwon, MD, Gerald Miley, MD, Chima Ohaegbulam, MD, Nicolas Marcotte, MD, Steve Vlad, MD, PhD, Kassandra Hopkins, CRC

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