Outpatient Posterior Lumbar Fusion: A Population-Based Analysis of Trends and Complication Rates

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Abstract

Study Design.

A retrospective case-control study.

Objective.

The aim of this study was to determine the nationwide trends and complication rates associated with outpatient posterior lumbar fusion (PLF).

Summary of Background Data.

Outpatient lumbar spine fusion is now possible secondary to minimally invasive techniques that allow for reduced hospital stays and analgesic requirements. Limited data are currently available regarding the clinical outcome of outpatient lumbar fusion.

Methods.

The Humana administrative claims database was queried for patients who underwent one to two-level PLF (CPT-22612 or CPT-22633 AND ICD-9–816.2) as either outpatients or inpatients from Q1 2007 to Q2 2015. The incidence of perioperative medical and surgical complications was determined by querying for relevant International Classification of Diseases and Current Procedural Terminology codes. Multivariate logistic regression adjusting for age, gender, and Charlson Comorbidity Index was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) of complications among outpatients relative to inpatients undergoing PLF.

Results.

Cohorts of 770 patients who underwent outpatient PLF and 26,826 patients who underwent inpatient PLF were identified. The median age was in the 65 to 69 years age group for both cohorts. The annual relative incidence of outpatient PLF remained stable across the study period (R2 = 0.03, P = 0.646). Adjusting for age, gender, and comorbidities, patients undergoing outpatient PLF had higher likelihood of revision/extension of posterior fusion [(OR 2.33, confidence interval (CI) 2.06–2.63, P < 0.001], anterior fusion (OR 1.64, CI 1.31–2.04, P < 0.001), and decompressive laminectomy (OR 2.01, CI 1.74–2.33, P < 0.001) within 1 year. Risk-adjusted rates of all other postoperative surgical and medical complications were statistically comparable.

Conclusion.

Outpatient lumbar fusion is uncommonly performed in the United States. Data collected from a national private insurance database demonstrate a greater risk of postoperative surgical complications including revision anterior and posterior fusion and decompressive laminectomy. Surgeons should be cautious in performing PLF in the outpatient setting, as the risk of revision surgery may increase in these cases.

Conclusion.

Level of Evidence: 3

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