The timeline for spine surgery complications in 90-day episodes: 5 points


A new study published in Spine examines the 90-day episode following spine surgery.


The study authors examined 2,761 patients who underwent spine surgery and completed the three-month follow-up. During that time, study authors found:

1. There was a 5.6 percent unplanned readmission rate during the 90-day episode; 156 patients returned and were admitted to the hospital.

2. The most common reasons for readmission include:

• Surgery related: 52 percent
• Medical complications: 38 percent
• Pain: 10 percent

3. The pain and wound complication readmissions typically were admitted within the first six days after surgery, while the medical readmissions presented within the first 12 days. Patients who had surgery-related complications were readmitted at various times, according to the report.

4. To further break down the reasons for readmission, the study authors found patients with the following complications were typically readmitted in 12 to 38 days:

• Cerebral fluid leaks: 12 days
• Surgical site infection: 23 days
• Surgical failure: 38 days

5. The factors associated with readmission include myocardial infarction history, osteoporosis, higher baseline leg and arm pain scores as well as longer surgeries. Undergoing lumbar spine surgery was also associated with readmissions.

"This timeline for pain and medical readmissions represents an opportunity for targeted postdischarge interventions to prevent unplanned readmissions following spine surgery," concluded the study authors.

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