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Readmission Rates ID'd After Spine Stenosis Decompression

Surgery with fusion is seen at 9.7 percent after one year; 7.2 percent for decompression alone

THURSDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- For patients undergoing lumbar spine stenosis decompression surgery with or without fusion, the one-year readmission rate is 9.7 or 7.2 percent, respectively, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

Urvij Modhia, M.B.B.S., M.D., from the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort analysis to evaluate readmission rates after spine stenosis decompression surgery in a 5 percent sample of Medicare beneficiaries. Patients with a procedure code for decompression and a diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis were identified from Medicare claims data.

The researchers found that patients undergoing fusion with decompression had a slightly and significantly higher one-year readmission rate (9.7 percent), compared to those undergoing decompression alone (7.2 percent). At two years, the rates were 14.6 and 12.5 percent, respectively. Patients who underwent decompression with fusion were younger and were more likely to be female. During readmission, the procedures performed were similar for the fusion and no fusion cohorts: 56 percent received fusion, 23 percent decompression, and 22 percent pain management injections. During the three-month quarter of surgery, more than 25 percent of those patients who were not readmitted received outpatient injections for pain. In the subsequent quarter, about 20 percent received outpatient injections.

"Readmission rates for spinal stenosis decompression were approximately 8 percent to 10 percent per year," the authors write. "Large databases can inform choice of surgical options by focusing examination on indications for surgery and reasons for readmission."

Several authors disclosed relevant financial activities that were unrelated to the study.

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