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Background: Degenerative spinal disease surgery is frequently performed in most neurosurgical departments. Unplanned 30-day readmissions represent a significant economic burden and have been used in several studies as a tool to evaluate quality of patient care.
Objective: To review 30-day unplanned readmission rates after degenerative spinal disease surgery in our department, in order to identify their causes and determine strategies aimed at decreasing their frequency.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients operated in our department for spinal stenosis or disc herniation over a 3 year period (January 2014 – December 2016), evaluating the rate and causes of unplanned readmission in the first month after discharge. Complications were divided in medical and surgical.
Results: Out of the 1106 patients included, 33 (2,98%) presented a 30-day unplanned readmission. The percentage was higher after disc herniation surgery (3,40%), compared to spinal stenosis (1,92%). Pain management was the most common medical cause for readmission (45,45%), while in the surgical group, CSF leaks were the most frequent complication (18,18%).
Conclusions: The rate of 30-day readmissions was low in our series but, even so, they associate significant costs. They could be avoided by applying correct and aseptic surgical technique, proper availability of dural sealing agents and superior patient medical education.