A lumbar discectomy is an invasive surgical procedure performed in a hospital to remove herniated spinal disc material that is pressing on a nerve root. A study published in the medical journal Spine reported that people undergoing procedures as in-patients were experiencing an 85% increase in complications, such as infection from wounds, than those who opted for outpatient surgeries.
Using the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database, University of Iowa’s Andrew J. Pugely, MD, led this research study that included a review of the records of over 4,000 lumbar discectomy patients. An analysis of the data showed that in-hospital surgery patients were more apt to acquire infections or to need additional surgery afterward the initial procedure than outpatient patients.
The minimally invasive procedures performed on an outpatient basis, such as those performed at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, are safer for patients. Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, notes that these less invasive types of surgery result in far fewer complications for patients. Dr. Kamson relates the following information on this groundbreaking research study for patients and for potential surgical candidates to learn more about its in-patient lumbar discectomy findings.
About the NSQIP: This quality assurance program was developed in 2005 by the American College of Surgeons to study and improve surgical outcomes. Close to 500 hospitals in the US take part in the NSQIP database.
Number of cases reviewed in the study: The cases studied of patients who went through a lumbar discectomy procedure between the years 2005 and 2019 numbered 4,310.
What the study examined: The research team looked at the number of short-term complications and the risk factors for complications in a 30-day period following a single-level lumbar discectomy. Risk factors such as age, diabetes, past wound infections, blood transfusions, length of operating time, and other components were taken into consideration.
The study’s findings: Of the 4,310 lumbar discectomy cases studied, 2,658 (or 2/3 of them) were performed on an inpatient basis. These patients experienced a 6.5% complication rate. Those who had outpatient discectomies (1,652 of them) had just a 3.5% complication rate. Dr. Kamson notes this lowered risk of complication when the discectomy is performed in an outpatient setting.
Conclusions: The study’s conclusions state that having outpatient lumbar discectomy results in a lowered rate of possible overall complications than for those who are treated in a hospital setting. For appropriate candidates, outpatient lumbar discectomy surgery should be considered.
Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, agrees wholeheartedly with the philosophy of the Spine Institute Northwest: less is better. Dr. Kamson is committed to utilizing the least invasive techniques and treatments to better help patients ease their pain and recover more fully and rapidly. Call the Spine Institute Northwest offices today at (208) 496-0630 to learn more about lumbar discectomy and how Dr. Sol Kamson can assist you. Our patient advocates will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.