Trends in the Charges and Utilization of Computer-Assisted Navigation in Cervical and Thoracolumbar Spinal Surgery

Calista L. Dominy, Justin E. Tang, Varun Arvind, Brian H. Cho, Stephen Selverian, Kush C. Shah, Jun S. Kim, Samuel K. Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Study Design: Retrospective national database study. Purpose: This study is conducted to assess the trends in the charges and usage of computer-assisted navigation in cervical and thoracolumbar spinal surgery. Overview of Literature: This study is the first of its kind to use a nationwide dataset to analyze trends of computer-assisted navigation in spinal surgery over a recent time period in terms of use in the field as well as the cost of the technology. Methods: Relevant data from the National Readmission Database in 2015–2018 were analyzed, and the computer-assisted procedures of cervical and thoracolumbar spinal surgery were identified using International Classification of Diseases 9th and 10th revision codes. Patient demographics, surgical data, readmissions, and total charges were examined. Comorbidity burden was calculated using the Charlson and Elixhauser comorbidity index. Complication rates were determined on the basis of diagnosis codes. Results: A total of 48,116 cervical cases and 27,093 thoracolumbar cases were identified using computer-assisted navigation. No major differences in sex, age, or comorbidities over time were found. The utilization of computer-assisted navigation for cervical and thoracolumbar spinal fusion cases increased from 2015 to 2018 and normalized to their respective years’ total cases (Pearson correlation coefficient=0.756, p =0.049; Pearson correlation coefficient=0.9895, p =0.010). Total charges for cervical and thoracolumbar cases increased over time (Pearson correlation coefficient=0.758, p =0.242; Pearson correlation coefficient=0.766, p =0.234). Conclusions: The use of computer-assisted navigation in spinal surgery increased significantly from 2015 to 2018. The average cost grossly increased from 2015 to 2018, and it was higher than the average cost of nonnavigated spinal surgery. With the increased utilization and standardization of computer-assisted navigation in spinal surgeries, the cost of care of more patients might potentially increase. As a result, further studies should be conducted to determine whether the use of computer-assisted navigation is efficient in terms of cost and improvement of care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-633
Number of pages9
JournalAsian Spine Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Computer-assisted
  • Cost analysis
  • Database
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Spine
  • Surgery
  • Surgical navigation systems


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