ASCs hand out fewer narcotics after ACDF than hospital surgery centers, study finds

With the opioid epidemic front of mind for ambulatory surgery center leaders, a study in the International Journal of Spine Surgery researched if hospital surgery centers or ASCs prescribed more narcotics after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

The study comprised 76 patients who underwent one- or two-level ACDF between 2013 and 2015. Of the patients, 42 were treated at a hospital surgery center and 34 at an ASC.

Around 90 percent of patients who underwent surgery at an ASC consumed less than or equal to the 30th percentile of oral morphine equivalents compared to 57 percent of hospital patients. Additionally, hospital patients consumed greater average doses of fentanyl and oxycodone.

"This study demonstrates that patients undergoing same-day surgery for primary one- or two-level ACDF received more narcotics at [hospital surgery centers] compared to ASCs," study authors concluded.

"The increased consumption at [hospital surgery centers] may have resulted in longer length-of-stays; however, this did not impact long-term pain, complications or clinical outcomes."

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