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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background 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 largevolume tertiary hospital. The study also compared the readmission rates of patients who underwent anterior- and posterior-approach procedures. Methods 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. Results 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). Conclusion 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%).

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalInternational Journal of Spine Surgery
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical
  • Degenerative surgery
  • Readmission


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