Managing Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) for Patients Undergoing Elective Spine Surgery: A Pilot Survey

James C. Mamaril-Davis, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Salvador Fabián Gutiérrez Aguirre, Mauricio J. Avila, Michel Villatoro-Villar, Katherine Riordan, Travis M. Dumont

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Patients affected by autoimmune pathologies such as rheumatoid arthritis require surgery for various reasons. However, the systemic inflammatory nature of these disease processes often necessitates therapy with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Alteration of these agents in the perioperative period for surgery requires a careful risk-benefit analysis to limit disease flares, infection rates, and secondary revisions. We therefore queried North and South American practices for perioperative management of DMARDs in patients undergoing elective spine surgery. Methods: An institutional review board-approved pilot survey was disseminated to spine surgeons regarding how they managed DMARDs before, during, and after spine surgery. Results: A total of 47 spine surgeons responded to the survey, 37 of whom were neurosurgeons (78.7%) and 10 orthopedic surgeons (21.3%). Of the respondents, 80.9% were from North America, 72.3% were board-certified, 51.1% practiced in academic institutions, and 66.0% performed 50-150 spine surgeries per year. Most respondents consulted a rheumatologist before continuing or withholding a DMARD in the perioperative period (70.2%). As such, a majority of the spine surgeons in this survey withheld DMARDs at an average of 13.8 days before and 19.6 days after spine surgery. Of the spine surgeons who withheld DMARDs before and after spine surgery, the responses were variable with a trend toward no increased risk of postoperative complications. Conclusions: Based on the results of this pilot survey, we found a consensus among spine surgeons to withhold DMARDs before and after elective spine surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalSpine Surgery and Related Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024


  • disease-modifying antirheumatic drug
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • spine fusion
  • spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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