The Impact of Computer-Assisted Navigation on Charges and Readmission in Patients Undergoing Posterior Cervical Fusion Surgery

Justin E. Tang, Calista L. Dominy, Varun Arvind, Brian H. Cho, Christopher White, Sara D. Pasik, Kush C. Shah, Jun S. Kim, Samuel K. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Retrospective cohort study of 2016 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD). Objective: The aim was to evaluate cost and outcomes associated with navigation use on posterior cervical fusion (PCF) surgery patients. Summary of Background Data: Computer-assisted navigation systems demonstrate comparable outcomes with hardware placement and procedural speed compared with traditional techniques. Innovations in technology continue to improve surgeons' performance in complicated procedures, causing need to analyze the impact on patient care. Methods: The 2016 NRD was queried for patients with PCF surgery ICD-10 codes. Cost and readmission rates were compared with and without navigation. Nonelective cases and patients below 18 years of age were excluded. Univariate analysis on demographics, surgical data, and total charges was performed. Lastly, multivariate analysis was performed to assess navigation's impact on cost and postoperative outcomes. Results: A total of 11,834 patients were identified, with 137 (1.2%) patients undergoing surgery with navigation and 11,697 (98.8%) patients without. Average total charge was $131,939.47 and $141,270.1 for the non-navigation and navigation cohorts, respectively (P=0.349). Thirty-day and 90-day readmission rates were not significantly lower in patients who received navigation versus those that did not (P=0.087). This remained insignificant after adjusting for several variables, age above 65, sex, medicare status, mental health history, and comorbidities. The model adjusting for demographic and comorbidities maintained insignificant results of navigation being associated with decreased 30-day and 90-day readmissions (P=0.079). Conclusions: Navigation use in PCF surgery was not associated with increased cost, and patients operated on with navigation did not significantly have increased routine discharge or decreased 90-day readmission. As a result, future studies must continue to evaluate the cost-benefit of navigation use for cervical fusion surgery. Level of Evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E520-E526
JournalClinical Spine Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • NRD
  • computer-aided navigation
  • retrospective cohort study


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