Readmission Rate after 2-level Lumbar Decompression: A Propensity-matched Cohort Study Comparing Inpatient and Outpatient Settings

Ahmad Elsharydah, Katherine L. Duncan, Eric B. Rosero, Abu Minhajuddin, Alwin Somasundaram, Girish P. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Study Design: Retrospective review of the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database years 2012-2015. Objective: Compare the 30-day readmission and postoperative major complications rates of 2-level lumbar decompression performed in the ambulatory and the inpatient settings. Summary of Background Data: In recent years, there is an increasing trend toward ambulatory spine surgery. However, there remains a concern regarding risks of readmission and postoperative morbidity after discharge. Methods: The ACS-NSQIP database from 2012 to 2015 was queried for adult patients who underwent elective 2-level lumbar decompression (CPT code 63047 accompanied with code 63048). A cohort of ambulatory lumbar decompression cases was matched 1:1 with an inpatient cohort after controlling for patient demographics, comorbidities, and complexity of the procedure. The primary outcome was the 30-day readmission rate. Secondary outcomes included a composite of 30-day postoperative major complications and hospital length of stay for hospitalized patients. Results: A total of 7505 patients met our study criteria. The ambulatory 2-level lumbar decompression surgery rate increased significantly over the study period from 28% in 2012 to 49% in 2015 (P<0.001). In the matched sample, there was no statistically significant difference in the 30-day readmission rate (odds ratio, 0.82; 95% confidence interval, 0.64-1.04; P=0.097) between the two cohorts; however, the ambulatory cohort had a lower 30-day postoperative major complication rate (odds ratio, 0.55; 95% confidence interval, 0.38-0.79; P=0.002). Conclusions: After 2-level lumbar decompression performed on inpatient versus outpatient basis, the 30-day readmission rate is similar. However, the 30-day postoperative complication rate is significantly lower in the ambulatory setting. The reasons for these differences need further exploration. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • ambulatory surgery
  • laminectomy
  • length of stay
  • lumbar decompression
  • postoperative morbidity
  • postoperative mortality
  • readmission
  • spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

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