Outpatient spine surgery growth in hospitals outpaces ASCs: 5 things to know

A new study published in Spine compares spinal procedures performed in the outpatient hospital department to the ASC.

Study authors conducted a retrospective review of Truven Health Marketscan Research Databases for patients who underwent spine surgery from 2003 to 2014. The patients underwent inpatient or outpatient surgery at a hospital or had their procedures performed at ASCs discharged on the same calendar day of the operation. Study authors found:

1. Over the study period, outpatient hospitals reported the largest growth in lumbar decompressions at the first level, growing from 18.7 percent of procedures to 68.5 percent. Posterior cervical decompressions without facectomy discectomy at the first level also jumped from 0 percent to 46.7 percent in the hospital outpatient setting.

2. Spine procedures in the ASC increased less significantly, with the largest jump being in posterior cervical decompression laminotomy first level, from 0 percent to 23.4 percent over the study period.

3. Lumbar decompression laminotomy first level in the ASC increased from 0.7 percent in 2003 to 10.6 percent in 2014.

4. Despite prior studies demonstrating the safety and efficacy of outpatient spine surgery, same-day procedures in the ASC aren't growing at a rate comparable to hospital outpatient procedures. Study authors theorize "one possible reason for this trend may be that surgeons feel that this safety may not be comparable to that of other outpatient procedures."

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