Results and limitations of outpatient and overnight stay laminectomies for lumbar spinal stenosis

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BackgroundAt our centre, laminectomies have been traditionally performed as inpatient surgery. A gradual change in practice occurred between 2010 and 2013 to try to do these procedures as outpatient or overnight stay surgery.MethodsWe conducted a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients having laminectomies over 2 18-month periods: before the change in practice and after full implementation of the outpatient/overnight stay protocol. We collected information on patient characteristics (age, sex, American Society of Anesthesiologists [ASA] classification, home address, number of laminectomy levels, estimated blood loss) and patient outcome (complications, hospital length of stay, 30-day readmissions).ResultsWe found no significant difference in age, sex, ASA classification, number of laminectomy levels, or estimated blood loss between the 2 cohorts. There was a change in the number of outpatient (from 0 to 25) and overnight stay laminectomies (from 0 to 13). There was an increase in total (inpatient, overnight stay and outpatient) laminectomies from 41 to 82, and an increase in patients from out of our region from 15% to 32%. There was 1 readmission within 30 days that occurred in the first cohort.ConclusionWe found that outpatient and overnight stay laminectomies can be done safely, with no patients requiring postoperative admission to hospital or readmissions within 30 days. They can be done in patients from out of town who need to travel home postoperatively. It is possible to safely reduce the level of resources used for spine surgery by carrying out laminectomies as outpatient or overnight stay surgery in select patients.

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