Infections & Back Pain Top List of Readmissions After Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Pain, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 23, 2016

back pain after surgery

Research presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Annual Meeting revealed that infections and pain were the leading reasons for unexpected hospital readmissions after elective lumbar decompression and fusion.

“Hospital readmissions have negative consequences on both patents and hospital systems,” said Dr. Owiocho Adogwa during his presentation. “They are costly on both public and private payers. The estimated costs are above $17 billion. Fifty-eight percent of the cost is incurred by Medicare, 20% by private payers and 18% by Medicaid. Twenty percent of Medicare beneficiaries that are discharged are readmitted within 30 days, and 70% of those patients are readmitted for things that are unnecessary or unplanned.”

Elective Spine Surgery Complications

To get a better idea of what was causing patients to be readmitted to the hospital after certain elective procedures, Dr. Adogwa and colleagues conducted a study. For their review, they evaluated 1,400 patients who underwent elective spine surgery at Duke University Hospital between 2008 and 2010. The average patient age was 58 years old, and researchers tracked the causes of readmission and length of hospital stays.

Here’s a closer look at the findings from the study:

  • After looking at the data, researchers uncovered that the most common procedures performed were decompression and fusion operations.
  • Of the 1,400 who underwent a procedure, 132 patients were unexpectedly readmitted within 30 days of discharge.
  • The most common causes of readmission include infection, concern of an infection, and pain.
  • The mean number of days from discharge to readmission was 9.87 days. The average length of stay during readmission was 7.49 days.

“Efforts for reducing or addressing unplanned readmission after elective spine surgery should be focused on more effective post-discharge care,” Dr. Adogwa concluded.

The study casts an interestingly light on readmission rates after elective spine surgery. There’s no doubt that readmissions place excess financial burdens on taxpayers and medical centers, which is why we need to work to prevent them from happening. At Midwest Spine and Brain, we cut down on readmission rates by closely examining your spinal condition, laying out all your surgical options, creating a clear plan for surgery (including pre- and post-op plans), and ensuring our entire surgical team understands exactly what needs to be done to make sure the operation goes as planned. We even work with you after your operation to make sure your rehab stays on track. Preventing readmissions for pain or infections is a top-down approach, and it’s something we prioritize with every patient.

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