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Br J Neurosurg. 2019 Dec;33(6):613-619. doi: 10.1080/02688697.2019.1675587. Epub 2019 Oct 14.

Retrospective single-centre series of 1300 consecutive cases of outpatient cervical spine surgery: complications, hospital readmissions, and reoperations.

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Oslofjordklinikken, Sandvika, Norway.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Neurosurgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Background: Outpatient surgery is becoming more common and is more cost-effective than inpatient surgery. Nonetheless, many surgeons and health care administrators are still hesitant to accept outpatient surgery for cervical degenerative spinal disease (C-DSD). This study assesses the types and rates of complications, hospital admissions, and reoperations after outpatient surgery of C-DSD.Methods: Complications, hospital admissions within 90 days of surgery, and reoperations within one year of surgery were recorded retrospectively in 1300 outpatients undergoing microsurgical decompression for C-DSD at the Oslofjord Clinic from 2008 to 2017. The surgical procedures performed were anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) in 1083 patients and posterior cervical foraminotomy in 217 patients.Results: The surgical mortality rate was 0%. Sixteen major complications were recorded in 15/1300 (1.2%) patients. The complications were neurological deterioration in four patients, postoperative hematoma in two, dural lesions with cerebrospinal fluid leakage in one, deep surgical-site infection in one, persistent hoarseness in three, and persistent dysphagia in five. The two potentially life-threatening hematomas were detected within the planned six-hour observation period. Two (0.2%) patients were admitted to hospital within hours of surgery completion with stroke-like signs and symptoms, and four (0.3%) patients were admitted to hospital within 90 days due to surgery-related events. The rate of reoperations for cervical radiculopathy within 12 months was 25/1171 (2%); eight patients' reoperations were due to inadequate primary decompression, one was due to recurrent disc herniation at the same level and side, and 16 were due to new-onset radiculopathy from an adjacent level or other side.Conclusions: Outpatient microsurgical decompression of the degenerative cervical spine in carefully selected patients appears to be safe and carries a low major complication rate, low hospital admission rate, and low one-year reoperation rate.


Ambulatory surgery; cervical discectomy; cervical spondylosis; hospital admission; outpatient surgery; postoperative complications; reoperation; spinal degenerative diseases

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