Inpatient vs. outpatient spinal fusions: 5 findings on complication rates

A new study published in Clinical Spine Surgery compares outpatient single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion to inpatient cases.

 

Study authors examined data from the Nationwide Surgical Quality Improvement Program database to identify patients undergoing spinal fusion from 2011 to 2013. The outpatient and inpatient procedures were matched using a one-to-one propensity score analysis for short term outcomes assessment. There were 6,940 patients included in the study.

Overall, researchers found:

1. Around 4.2 percent of the patients reported complications.

2. Three-quarters of the patients had inpatient hospital stays after surgery; the remaining quarter underwent outpatient procedures.

3. The complication rate was higher among patients who underwent inpatient procedures — 2.5 percent — than outpatient procedures — 1.2 percent.

4. Patients who underwent inpatient surgery were also more likely to have 30-day readmissions than those who underwent outpatient surgery. The 30-day readmission rate for the inpatient group was 2.2 percent, compared with 1.8 percent in the outpatient group.

5. Mortality was 0.1 percent in both groups.

"Outpatient surgery for single-level ACDF is safe and a favorable option for suitable patients," concluded study authors.

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