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Darryl Lau, Andrew K. Chan, Alexander A. Theologis, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Shane Burch, Sigurd Berven, Vedat Deviren and Christopher Ames

OBJECTIVE

Because the surgical strategies for primary and metastatic spinal tumors are different, the respective associated costs and morbidities associated with those treatments likely vary. This study compares the direct costs and 90-day readmission rates between the resection of extradural metastatic and primary spinal tumors. The factors associated with cost and readmission are identified.

METHODS

Adults (age 18 years or older) who underwent the resection of spinal tumors between 2008 and 2013 were included in the study. Patients with intradural tumors were excluded. The direct costs of index hospitalization and 90-day readmission hospitalization were evaluated. The direct costs were compared between patients who were treated surgically for primary and metastatic spinal tumors. The independent factors associated with costs and readmissions were identified using multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 181 patients with spinal tumors were included (63 primary and 118 metastatic tumors). Overall, the mean index hospital admission cost for the surgical management of spinal tumors was $52,083. There was no significant difference in the cost of hospitalization between primary ($55,801) and metastatic ($50,098) tumors (p = 0.426). The independent factors associated with higher cost were male sex (p = 0.032), preoperative inability to ambulate (p = 0.002), having more than 3 comorbidities (p = 0.037), undergoing corpectomy (p = 0.021), instrumentation greater than 7 levels (p < 0.001), combined anterior-posterior approach (p < 0.001), presence of a perioperative complication (p < 0.001), and longer hospital stay (p < 0.001). The perioperative complication rate was 21.0%. Of this cohort, 11.6% of patients were readmitted within 90 days, and the mean hospitalization cost of that readmission was $20,078. Readmission rates after surgical treatment for primary and metastatic tumors were similar (11.1% vs 11.9%, respectively) (p = 0.880). Prior hospital stay greater than 15 days (OR 6.62, p = 0.016) and diagnosis of lung metastasis (OR 52.99, p = 0.007) were independent predictors of readmission.

CONCLUSIONS

Primary and metastatic spinal tumors are comparable with regard to the direct costs of the index surgical hospitalization and readmission rate within 90 days. The factors independently associated with costs are related to preoperative health status, type and complexity of surgery, and postoperative course.