Extended Length of Stay in Elderly Patients After Lumbar Decompression and Fusion Surgery May Not Be Attributable to Baseline Illness Severity or Postoperative Complications

Owoicho Adogwa, Shyam A. Desai, Victoria D. Vuong, Daniel T. Lilly, Bichun Ouyang, Mark Davison, Syed Khalid, Carlos A. Bagley, Joseph Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: Hospital leaders are seeking ways to improve resource utilization and minimize long postoperative hospital stays. Common explanations for extended length of stay (LOS) are baseline patient illness, postoperative complications, and physician practice differences. The degree to which extended LOS represents illness severity or postoperative complications is unknown. We investigated influence of postoperative complications and patient comorbidities on extended LOS after lumbar spine surgery in elderly patients. Methods: This retrospective cohort study from 2008 to 2014 analyzed data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program for elderly patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery. Patient demographics, comorbidities, LOS, and complications were recorded. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to determine odds ratio for risk-adjusted LOS. Primary outcome was the degree extended LOS represented patient illness or postoperative complications. Results: Of 9482 patients, 1909 (20.13%) had extended LOS. A few patients with extended LOS had a history of relevant comorbidities, including diabetes (21.76%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (8.17%), congestive heart failure (0.94%), myocardial infarction (0%), acute renal failure (0.47%), and stroke (2.23%). Of patients with normal LOS, 93% had no complications, 5.19% had 1 complication, and 1.69% had >1 complication. Among patients with extended LOS, 73.65% had no complications, 18.96% had 1 complication, and 7.39% had >1 complication (P < 0.000). Conclusions: Our study suggests that much of the variation in LOS for elderly patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery is not attributable to baseline patient illness or postoperative complications and most likely represents differences in practice style or surgeon preference.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Elderly
  • Enhanced recovery pathway
  • Length of stay
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Postoperative complications
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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