Cost drivers for lumbar discectomies: 4 notes

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

A study published online March 20 in The Spine Journal examines factors that drive costs for single-level lumbar discectomies.


Researchers examined data from an academic medical center on 622 patients who underwent single-level lumbar discectomies from 2014 to 2018.

Four takeaways:

1. Demographic factors increasing the cost of surgery included older age, male gender, unemployment, obesity, high American Society of Anesthesiologist class score, insurance status and retirement. Hispanic and Black patients had higher costs on average.

2. Patients who underwent outpatient procedures had lower overall costs. Asian and Native American patients, as well as students, were associated with lower costs.

3. Obese patients on haverage had 9 percnet higher total direct costs, 15 percent higher total facility costs and 22 percent higher operating room costs than patients who were not obese. Obese patients also spent 24 minutes more in the operating room than nonobese patients on average.

4. Medicare patients had 14 percent higher facility costs on average than patients with private insurance.

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