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Ninety-day readmissions after degenerative cervical spine surgery: A single-center administrative database study

Chibuikem Akamnonu MD,1 Thomas Cheriyan MD,1 Jeffrey A. Goldstein MD,1 Thomas J. Errico MD,1 John A. Bendo MD1

1Division of Spine Surgery, Hospital for Joint Diseases, New York Langone Medical Center, New York



Unplanned hospital readmissions result in significant clinical and financial burdens to patients and the healthcare system. Readmission rates and causes have been investigated using large administrative databases which have certain limitations in data reporting and coding. The objective of this study was to provide a description of 90 day post-discharge readmissions following surgery for common degenerative cervical spine pathologies at a large-volume tertiary hospital. The study also compared the readmission rates of patients who underwent anterior- and posterior-approach procedures.


The administrative records from a single-center, high-volume tertiary institution were queried using ICD-9 codes for common cervical pathology over a three year period to determine the rate and causes of readmissions within the 90 days following the index surgery.


A total of 768 patients underwent degenerative cervical spine surgery during the three year study period. Within 90 days of discharge, 24 (3.13%) patients were readmitted; 16 (2.06%) readmissions were planned for lumbar surgery; 8 (1.04%) readmissions were unplanned. 640 patients underwent procedures involving an anterior approach and 128 patients underwent procedures involving a posterior approach. There were 14 (2.17%) planned readmissions in the anterior group and 2 (1.5%) in the posterior group. The unplanned readmission rate was 0.63% (4 patients) and 3.13% (4 patients) in the anterior and posterior groups, respectively. (p=0.0343).


The 90 day post-discharge unplanned readmission rate that followed elective degenerative cervical spine surgery was 1.04%. The unplanned readmission rate associated with posterior-approach procedures (3.13%) was significantly higher than that of anterior-approach procedures (0.63%).

Level of evidence: IV

readmission, Cervical, degenerative surgery
Volume 9 Article 19