I am a 66-year-old African American male in need of a spinal fusion. Are there any studies to show how well (or poorly) black men do after this kind of surgery?

Many studies of spinal fusions are done on groups of all Caucasian men and women. No studies have been done comparing racial groups. Several studies show that whites are more likely to have disc removal and spinal fusion than any other group. It's not clear if this is based on differences in ethnic background or not.

Does it mean Caucasians have more spine problems than anyone else? Does it mean whites are more likely to overuse surgery for this problem? Or does it mean black people don't get the operation when they need it (underutilization)?

Cases of rare problems in the spine are being reported for a few black men. These new ways to use neuroimaging techniques has helped find these rare problems in African-American groups. Future studies may look at differences in rates and success of spinal fusion based on ethnicity.