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Neurosurgery. 2019 Sep 1;85(3):402-408. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyy358.

Risk Factors Associated With 90-Day Readmissions After Degenerative Lumbar Fusion: An Examination of the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) Registry.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Department of Neurosurgery, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, Michigan.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.



Most studies have evaluated 30-d readmissions after lumbar fusion surgery. Evaluation of the 90-d period, however, allows a more comprehensive assessment of factors associated with readmission.


To assess the reasons and risk factors for 90-d readmissions after lumbar fusion surgery.


The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) registry is a prospective, multicenter, and spine-specific database of patients surgically treated for degenerative disease. MSSIC data were retrospectively analyzed for causes of readmission, and independent risk factors impacting readmission were found by multivariate logistic regression.


Of 10 204 patients who underwent lumbar fusion, 915 (9.0%) were readmitted within 90 d, most commonly for pain (17%), surgical site infection (16%), and radicular symptoms (10%). Risk factors associated with increased likelihood of readmission were other race (odds ratio [OR] 1.81, confidence interval [CI] 1.22-2.69), coronary artery disease (OR 1.57, CI 1.25-1.96), ≥4 fused levels (OR 1.41, CI 1.06-1.88), diabetes (OR 1.34, CI 1.10-1.63), and surgery length (OR 1.09, CI 1.03-1.16). Factors associated with decreased risk were discharge to home (OR 0.63, CI 0.51-0.78), private insurance (OR 0.79, CI 0.65-0.97), ambulation same day of surgery (OR 0.81, CI 0.67-0.97), and spondylolisthesis diagnosis (OR 0.82, CI 0.68-0.97). Of those readmitted, 385 (42.1%) patients underwent another surgery.


Ninety-day readmission occurred in 9.0% of patients, mainly for pain, wound infection, and radicular symptoms. Increased focus on postoperative pain may decrease readmissions. Among factors impacting the likelihood of 90-d readmission, early postoperative ambulation may be most easily modifiable. Optimization of preexisting medical conditions could also potentially decrease readmission risk.


Adverse events; Complications; Lumbar fusion; Readmissions; Registries; Risk factors; Spine


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