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Outpatient Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: An Analysis of Readmissions from the New Jersey State Ambulatory Services Database

Shearwood McClelland III MD, Peter G Passias MD, Thomas J Errico MD, R Shay Bess MD, Themistocles S Protopsaltis MD

Division of Spine Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital for Joint Diseases, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY



Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) performed as an outpatient has become increasingly common for treating cervical spine pathology. Few reports have attempted to assess readmissions following outpatient ACDF. This study was performed to address this issue using population-based databases.


The State Ambulatory Services Database (SASD) for New Jersey (NJ) from 2003-2012 was used for analysis. Patients receiving ACDF (defined as anterior cervical fusion (ICD-0 code=81.02) + excision of intervertebral disc (80.51)) were extracted; those with three or more levels fused (ICD-9 codes 81.63-81.64), cancer (ICD-9 codes 140-239), or trauma (ICD-9 codes=805.0-806.9) were excluded. A series of perioperative complications including durotomy, red blood cell transfusion, acute posthemorrhagic anemia, paraplegia (weakness), and mortality were examined. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to adjust the analysis for patient age, race, sex, primary payer for care, and number of diagnoses. The NJ SASD defined readmission as admission to the same facility within seven days of initial discharge.


Two thousand sixteen (2,016) patients were found, 1,528 of whom had readmission data. Of these 1,528 patients, 83 (5.4%) required readmission. PSM was performed prior to comparing readmission versus non-readmission. While there was no difference in perioperative complications between the two groups, the small sample size of the readmission cohort prevented this analysis from having sufficient power. No patient requiring readmission had an initial length of stay greater than one day.


Based on a 10-year outpatient analysis, fewer than 6% of outpatient 1-2 level ACDFs require readmission. Future studies involving outpatients from several states will be necessary to determine whether these results of outpatient ACDF are applicable nationwide. 

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Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, Outpatient, readmission, New Jersey State Ambulatory and Services Database
Volume 11 Issue 1
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