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Brandon A. Sherrod and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

Morbidity associated with surgical site infection (SSI) following nonshunt pediatric neurosurgical procedures is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to analyze acute morbidity and mortality associated with SSI after nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery using a nationwide cohort.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric (NSQIP-P) 2012–2014 database, including all neurosurgical procedures performed on pediatric patients. Procedures were categorized by Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. CSF shunts were excluded. Deep and superficial SSIs occurring within 30 days of an index procedure were identified. Deep SSIs included deep wound infections, intracranial abscesses, meningitis, osteomyelitis, and ventriculitis. The following outcomes occurring within 30 days of an index procedure were analyzed, along with postoperative time to complication development: sepsis, wound disruption, length of postoperative stay, readmission, reoperation, and death.

RESULTS

A total of 251 procedures associated with a 30-day SSI were identified (2.7% of 9296 procedures). Superficial SSIs were more common than deep SSIs (57.4% versus 42.6%). Deep SSIs occurred more frequently after epilepsy or intracranial tumor procedures. Superficial SSIs occurred more frequently after skin lesion, spine, Chiari decompression, craniofacial, and myelomeningocele closure procedures. The mean (± SD) postoperative length of stay for patients with any SSI was 9.6 ± 14.8 days (median 4 days). Post-SSI outcomes significantly associated with previous SSI included wound disruption (12.4%), sepsis (15.5%), readmission (36.7%), and reoperation (43.4%) (p < 0.001 for each). Post-SSI sepsis rates (6.3% vs 28.0% for superficial versus deep SSI, respectively; p < 0.001), wound disruption rates (4.9% vs 22.4%, p < 0.001), and reoperation rates (23.6% vs 70.1%, p < 0.001) were significantly greater for patients with deep SSIs. Postoperative length of stay in patients discharged before SSI development was not significantly different for deep versus superficial SSI (4.2 ± 2.7 vs 3.6 ± 2.4 days, p = 0.094). No patient with SSI died within 30 days after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Thirty-day SSI is associated with significant 30-day morbidity in pediatric patients undergoing nonshunt neurosurgery. Rates of SSI-associated complications are significantly lower in patients with superficial infection than in those with deep infection. There were no cases of SSI-related mortality within 30 days of the index procedure.

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Brandon A. Sherrod, James M. Johnston, and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

Hospital readmission rate is increasingly used as a quality outcome measure after surgery. The purpose of this study was to establish, using a national database, the baseline readmission rates and risk factors for patient readmission after pediatric neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric database was queried for pediatric patients treated by a neurosurgeon between 2012 and 2013. Procedures were categorized by current procedural terminology (CPT) code. Patient demographics, comorbidities, preoperative laboratory values, operative variables, and postoperative complications were analyzed via univariate and multivariate techniques to find associations with unplanned readmissions within 30 days of the primary procedure.

RESULTS

A total of 9799 cases met the inclusion criteria, 1098 (11.2%) of which had an unplanned readmission within 30 days. Readmission occurred 14.0 ± 7.7 days postoperatively (mean ± standard deviation). The 4 procedures with the highest unplanned readmission rates were CSF shunt revision (17.3%; CPT codes 62225 and 62230), repair of myelomeningocele > 5 cm in diameter (15.4%), CSF shunt creation (14.1%), and craniectomy for infratentorial tumor excision (13.9%). The lowest unplanned readmission rates were for spine (6.5%), craniotomy for craniosynostosis (2.1%), and skin lesion (1.0%) procedures. On multivariate regression analysis, the odds of readmission were greatest in patients experiencing postoperative surgical site infection (SSI; deep, organ/space, superficial SSI, and wound disruption: OR > 12 and p < 0.001 for each). Postoperative pneumonia (OR 4.294, p < 0.001), urinary tract infection (OR 4.262, p < 0.001), and sepsis (OR 2.616, p = 0.006) also independently increased the readmission risk. Independent patient risk factors for unplanned readmission included Native American race (OR 2.363, p = 0.019), steroid use > 10 days (OR 1.411, p = 0.010), oxygen supplementation (OR 1.645, p = 0.010), nutritional support (OR 1.403, p = 0.009), seizure disorder (OR 1.250, p = 0.021), and longer operative time (per hour increase, OR 1.059, p = 0.029).

CONCLUSIONS

This study may aid in identifying patients at risk for unplanned readmission following pediatric neurosurgery, potentially helping to focus efforts at lowering readmission rates, minimizing patient risk, and lowering costs for health care systems.

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Brandon A. Sherrod, Rajiv R. Iyer, and John R. W. Kestle

OBJECTIVE

Surgical options for managing hydrocephalus secondary to CNS tumors have traditionally included ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS) when tumor resection or medical management alone are ineffective. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) has emerged as an attractive treatment strategy for tumor-associated hydrocephalus because it offers a lower risk of infection and hardware-related complications; however, relatively little has been written on the topic of ETV specifically for the treatment of tumor-associated hydrocephalus. Here, the authors reviewed the existing literature on the use of ETV in the treatment of tumor-associated hydrocephalus, focusing on the frequency of ETV use and the failure rates in patients with hydrocephalus secondary to CNS tumor.

METHODS

The authors queried PubMed for the following terms: “endoscopic third ventriculostomy,” “tumor,” and “pediatric.” Papers with only adult populations, case reports, and papers published before the year 2000 were excluded. The authors analyzed the etiology of hydrocephalus and failure rates after ETV, and they compared failure rates of ETV with those of VPS where reported.

RESULTS

Thirty-two studies with data on pediatric patients undergoing ETV for tumor-related hydrocephalus were analyzed. Tumors, particularly in the posterior fossa, were reported as the etiology of hydrocephalus in 38.6% of all ETVs performed (984 of 2547 ETVs, range 29%–55%). The ETV failure rate in tumor-related hydrocephalus ranged from 6% to 38.6%, and in the largest studies analyzed (> 100 patients), the ETV failure rate ranged from 10% to 38.6%. The pooled ETV failure rate was 18.3% (199 failures after 1087 procedures). The mean or median follow-up for ETV failure assessment ranged from 6 months to 8 years in these studies. Only 5 studies directly compared ETV with VPS for tumor-associated hydrocephalus, and they reported mixed results in regard to failure rate and time to failure. Overall failure rates appear similar for ETV and VPS over time, and the risk of infection appears to be lower in those patients undergoing ETV. The literature is mixed regarding the need for routine ETV before resection for posterior fossa tumors with associated hydrocephalus.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of tumor-related hydrocephalus with ETV is common and is warranted in select pediatric patient populations. Failure rates are overall similar to those of VPS for tumor-associated hydrocephalus.

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Brandon A. Sherrod, Winson S. Ho, Alec Hedlund, Anne Kennedy, Betsy Ostrander, and Robert J. Bollo

OBJECTIVE

Prenatal imaging has several critical roles in the diagnosis and management of myelomeningocele, including specific family counseling and the selection of fetal surgery or postnatal repair. In this study, the authors compared the accuracy of fetal MRI and prenatal ultrasonography (US) in predicting the spinal lesion level and assessed the correlation between imaging findings and motor function as independently evaluated by a physical therapist (PT) after birth.

METHODS

A retrospective review of demographic and clinical data was performed to identify children who had been treated with postnatal myelomeningocele closure at a single institution between March 2013 and December 2018. Patients were eligible for inclusion if they had all of the following: prenatal US identifying the neural tube defect level, fetal MRI identifying the neural tube defect level, and postoperative PT evaluation identifying the motor deficit level. Statistical analysis was performed using Cohen’s kappa coefficient to compare the US- and MRI-demonstrated lesion level and correlate these findings with the motor level assigned postnatally by a PT via manual muscle testing.

RESULTS

Thirty-four patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean gestational age at US was 23.0 ± 4.7 weeks, whereas the mean gestational age at MRI was 24.0 ± 4.1 weeks. The mean time from surgery to the PT evaluation was 2.9 ± 1.9 days. Prenatal US and MRI were in agreement within one spinal level in 74% of cases (25/34, k = 0.43). When comparing the US-demonstrated spinal level with the PT-assigned motor level, the two were in agreement within one level in 65% of cases (22/34, k = 0.40). When comparing MRI-demonstrated spinal level with the PT motor level, the two were in agreement within one level in 59% of cases (20/34, k = 0.37). MRI and US were within two spinal levels of the PT evaluation in 79.4% and 85.3% of cases, respectively. MRI and US agreed within two levels in 97.1% of cases. Prenatal US and MRI were equivalent when comparing the difference between the imaged level and the postnatal motor deficit level (mean level difference: 1.12 ± 1.16 vs 1.17 ± 1.11, p = 0.86).

CONCLUSIONS

Prenatal US and MRI equivalently predicted the postnatal motor deficit level in children with myelomeningocele. These data may be valuable in prenatal prognostication.

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Brandon A. Sherrod, Anastasia A. Arynchyna, James M. Johnston, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Jeffrey P. Blount, W. Jerry Oakes, and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) following CSF shunt operations has been well studied, yet risk factors for nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery are less well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine SSI rates and risk factors following nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery using a nationwide patient cohort and an institutional data set specifically for better understanding SSI.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric (ACS NSQIP-P) database for the years 2012–2014, including all neurosurgical procedures performed on pediatric patients except CSF shunts and hematoma evacuations. SSI included deep (intracranial abscesses, meningitis, osteomyelitis, and ventriculitis) and superficial wound infections. The authors performed univariate analyses of SSI association with procedure, demographic, comorbidity, operative, and hospital variables, with subsequent multivariate logistic regression analysis to determine independent risk factors for SSI within 30 days of the index procedure. A similar analysis was performed using a detailed institutional infection database from Children's of Alabama (COA).

RESULTS

A total of 9296 nonshunt procedures were identified in NSQIP-P with an overall 30-day SSI rate of 2.7%. The 30-day SSI rate in the COA institutional database was similar (3.3% of 1103 procedures, p = 0.325). Postoperative time to SSI in NSQIP-P and COA was 14.6 ± 6.8 days and 14.8 ± 7.3 days, respectively (mean ± SD). Myelomeningocele (4.3% in NSQIP-P, 6.3% in COA), spine (3.5%, 4.9%), and epilepsy (3.4%, 3.1%) procedure categories had the highest SSI rates by procedure category in both NSQIP-P and COA. Independent SSI risk factors in NSQIP-P included postoperative pneumonia (OR 4.761, 95% CI 1.269–17.857, p = 0.021), immune disease/immunosuppressant use (OR 3.671, 95% CI 1.371–9.827, p = 0.010), cerebral palsy (OR 2.835, 95% CI 1.463–5.494, p = 0.002), emergency operation (OR 1.843, 95% CI 1.011–3.360, p = 0.046), spine procedures (OR 1.673, 95% CI 1.036–2.702, p = 0.035), acquired CNS abnormality (OR 1.620, 95% CI 1.085–2.420, p = 0.018), and female sex (OR 1.475, 95% CI 1.062–2.049, p = 0.021). The only COA factor independently associated with SSI in the COA database included clean-contaminated wound classification (OR 3.887, 95% CI 1.354–11.153, p = 0.012), with public insurance (OR 1.966, 95% CI 0.957–4.041, p = 0.066) and spine procedures (OR 1.982, 95% CI 0.955–4.114, p = 0.066) approaching significance. Both NSQIP-P and COA multivariate model C-statistics were > 0.7.

CONCLUSIONS

The NSQIP-P SSI rates, but not risk factors, were similar to data from a single center.

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Travis J. Atchley, Nicholas M. B. Laskay, Brandon A. Sherrod, A. K. M. Fazlur Rahman, Harrison C. Walker, and Barton L. Guthrie

OBJECTIVE

Infection and erosion following implantable pulse generator (IPG) placement are associated with morbidity and cost for patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems. Here, the authors provide a detailed characterization of infection and erosion events in a large cohort that underwent DBS surgery for movement disorders.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed consecutive IPG placements and replacements in patients who had undergone DBS surgery for movement disorders at the University of Alabama at Birmingham between 2013 and 2016. IPG procedures occurring before 2013 in these patients were also captured. Descriptive statistics, survival analyses, and logistic regression were performed using generalized linear mixed effects models to examine risk factors for the primary outcomes of interest: infection within 1 year or erosion within 2 years of IPG placement.

RESULTS

In the study period, 384 patients underwent a total of 995 IPG procedures (46.4% were initial placements) and had a median follow-up of 2.9 years. Reoperation for infection occurred after 27 procedures (2.7%) in 21 patients (5.5%). No difference in the infection rate was observed for initial placement versus replacement (p = 0.838). Reoperation for erosion occurred after 16 procedures (1.6%) in 15 patients (3.9%). Median time to reoperation for infection and erosion was 51 days (IQR 24–129 days) and 149 days (IQR 112–285 days), respectively. Four patients with infection (19.0%) developed a second infection requiring a same-side reoperation, two of whom developed a third infection. Intraoperative vancomycin powder was used in 158 cases (15.9%) and did not decrease the infection risk (infected: 3.2% with vancomycin vs 2.6% without, p = 0.922, log-rank test). On logistic regression, a previous infection increased the risk for infection (OR 35.0, 95% CI 7.9–156.2, p < 0.0001) and a lower patient BMI was a risk factor for erosion (BMI ≤ 24 kg/m2: OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.1–8.6, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

IPG-related infection and erosion following DBS surgery are uncommon but clinically significant events. Their respective timelines and risk factors suggest different etiologies and thus different potential corrective procedures.

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Brandon Sherrod, Michael Karsy, Jian Guan, Andrea A. Brock, Ilyas M. Eli, Erica F. Bisson, and Andrew T. Dailey

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of hospital type and patient transfer during the treatment of patients with vertebral fracture and/or spinal cord injury (SCI).

METHODS

The National Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was queried to identify patients treated in Utah from 2001 to 2011 for vertebral column fracture and/or SCI (ICD-9-CM codes 805, 806, and 952). Variables related to patient transfer into and out of the index hospital were evaluated in relation to patient disposition, hospital length of stay, mortality, and cost.

RESULTS

A total of 53,644 patients were seen (mean [± SEM] age 55.3 ± 0.1 years, 46.0% females, 90.2% white), of which 10,620 patients were transferred from another institution rather than directly admitted. Directly admitted (vs transferred) patients showed a greater likelihood of routine disposition (54.4% vs 26.0%) and a lower likelihood of skilled nursing facility disposition (28.2% vs 49.2%) (p < 0.0001). Directly admitted patients also had a significantly shorter length of stay (5.6 ± 6.7 vs 7.8 ± 9.5 days, p < 0.0001) and lower total charges ($26,882 ± $37,348 vs $42,965 ± $52,118, p < 0.0001). A multivariable analysis showed that major operative procedures (hazard ratio [HR] 1.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4–2.0, p < 0.0001) and SCI (HR 2.1, 95% CI 1.6–2.8, p < 0.0001) were associated with reduced survival whereas patient transfer was associated with better survival rates (HR 0.4, 95% CI 0.3–0.5, p < 0.0001). A multivariable analysis of cost showed that disposition (β = 0.1), length of stay (β = 0.6), and major operative procedure (β = 0.3) (p < 0.0001) affected cost the most.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, transferred patients had lower mortality but greater likelihood for poor outcomes, longer length of stay, and higher cost compared with directly admitted patients. These results suggest some significant benefits to transferring patients with acute injury to facilities capable of providing appropriate treatment, but also support the need to further improve coordinated care of transferred patients, including surgical treatment and rehabilitation.

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James Mooney, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Daniel Zeitouni, Andrew K. Chan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon A. Sherrod, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Clinton J. Devin, Brenton Pennicooke, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

With the expanding indications for and increasing popularity of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for lumbar spinal fusion, large-scale outcomes analysis to compare MIS approaches with open procedures is warranted.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients who underwent elective lumbar fusion for degenerative spine disease. They performed optimal matching, at a 1:2 ratio between patients who underwent MIS and those who underwent open lumbar fusion, to create two highly homogeneous groups in terms of 33 baseline variables (including demographic characteristics, comorbidities, symptoms, patient-reported scores, indications, and operative details). The outcomes of interest were overall satisfaction, decrease in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and back and leg pain, as well as hospital length of stay (LOS), operative time, reoperations, and incidental durotomy rate. Satisfaction was defined as a score of 1 or 2 on the North American Spine Society scale. Minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in ODI was defined as ≥ 30% decrease from baseline. Outcomes were assessed at the 3- and 12-month follow-up evaluations.

RESULTS

After the groups were matched, the MIS and open groups consisted of 1483 and 2966 patients, respectively. Patients who underwent MIS fusion had higher odds of satisfaction at 3 months (OR 1.4, p = 0.004); no difference was demonstrated at 12 months (OR 1.04, p = 0.67). Lumbar stenosis, single-level fusion, higher American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Classification System grade, and absence of spondylolisthesis were most prominently associated with higher odds of satisfaction with MIS compared with open surgery. Patients in the MIS group had slightly lower ODI scores at 3 months (mean difference 1.61, p = 0.006; MCID OR 1.14, p = 0.0495) and 12 months (mean difference 2.35, p < 0.001; MCID OR 1.29, p < 0.001). MIS was also associated with a greater decrease in leg and back pain at both follow-up time points. The two groups did not differ in operative time and incidental durotomy rate; however, LOS was shorter for the MIS group. Revision surgery at 12 months was less likely for patients who underwent MIS (4.1% vs 5.6%, p = 0.032).

CONCLUSIONS

In patients who underwent lumbar fusion for degenerative spinal disease, MIS was associated with higher odds of satisfaction at 3 months postoperatively. No difference was demonstrated at the 12-month follow-up. MIS maintained a small, yet consistent, superiority in decreasing ODI and back and leg pain, and MIS was associated with a lower reoperation rate.

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Davide M. Croci, Brandon Sherrod, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Andrew K. Chan, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Khoi D. Than, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Michael S. Virk, and Erica F. Bisson

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a common progressive spine disorder affecting predominantly middle-aged and elderly populations. With increasing life expectancy, the incidence of CSM is expected to rise further. The outcomes of elderly patients undergoing CSM surgery and especially their quality of life (QOL) postoperatively remain undetermined. This study retrospectively reviewed patients to identify baseline differences and validated postoperative patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures in elderly patients undergoing CSM surgery.

METHODS

The multi-institutional, neurosurgery-specific NeuroPoint Quality Outcomes Database was queried to identify CSM patients treated surgically at the 14 highest-volume sites from January 2016 to December 2018. Patients were divided into three groups: young (< 65 years), early elderly (65–74 years), and late elderly (≥ 75 years). Demographic and PRO measures (Neck Disability Index [NDI] score, modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association [mJOA] score, EQ-5D score, EQ-5D visual analog scale [VAS] score, arm pain VAS, and neck pain VAS) were compared among the groups at baseline and 3 and 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

A total of 1151 patients were identified: 691 patients (60%) in the young, 331 patients (28.7%) in the early elderly, and 129 patients (11.2%) in the late elderly groups. At baseline, younger patients presented with worse NDI scores (p < 0.001) and lower EQ-5D VAS (p = 0.004) and EQ-5D (p < 0.001) scores compared with early and late elderly patients. No differences among age groups were found in the mJOA score. An improvement of all QOL scores was noted in all age groups. On unadjusted analysis at 3 months, younger patients had greater improvement in arm pain VAS, NDI, and EQ-5D VAS compared with early and late elderly patients. At 12 months, the same changes were seen, but on adjusted analysis, there were no differences in PROs between the age groups.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results indicate that elderly patients undergoing CSM surgery achieved QOL outcomes that were equivalent to those of younger patients at the 12-month follow-up.

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James Mooney, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Daniel Zeitouni, Sally El Sammak, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Michael Y. Wang, Domagoj Coric, Andrew K. Chan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Brandon Sherrod, Regis W. Haid Jr., John J. Knightly, Clinton J. Devin, Brenton H. Pennicooke, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Spine surgery represents an ideal target for healthcare cost reduction efforts, with outpatient surgery resulting in significant cost savings. With an increased focus on value-based healthcare delivery, lumbar decompression surgery has been increasingly performed in the outpatient setting when appropriate. The aim of this study was to compare clinical and patient-reported outcomes following outpatient and inpatient lumbar decompression surgery.

METHODS

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was queried for patients undergoing elective one- or two-level lumbar decompression (laminectomy or laminotomy with or without discectomy) for degenerative spine disease. Patients were grouped as outpatient if they had a length of stay (LOS) < 24 hours and as inpatient if they stayed in the hospital ≥ 24 hours. Patients with ≥ 72-hour stay were excluded from the comparative analysis to increase baseline comparability between the two groups. To create two highly homogeneous groups, optimal matching was performed at a 1:1 ratio between the two groups on 38 baseline variables, including demographics, comorbidities, symptoms, patient-reported scores, indications, and operative details. Outcomes of interest were readmissions and reoperations at 30 days and 3 months after surgery, overall satisfaction, and decrease in Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), back pain, and leg pain at 3 months after surgery. Satisfaction was defined as a score of 1 or 2 in the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index. Noninferiority of outpatient compared with inpatient surgery was defined as risk difference of < 1.5% at a one-sided 97.5% confidence interval.

RESULTS

A total of 18,689 eligible one- and two-level decompression surgeries were identified. The matched study cohorts consisted of 5016 patients in each group. Nonroutine discharge was slightly less common in the outpatient group (0.6% vs 0.3%, p = 0.01). The 30-day readmission rates were 4.4% and 4.3% for the outpatient and inpatient groups, respectively, while the 30-day reoperation rates were 1.4% and 1.5%. The 3-month readmission rates were 6.3% for both groups, and the 3-month reoperation rates were 3.1% for the outpatient cases and 2.9% for the inpatient cases. Overall satisfaction at 3 months was 88.8% for the outpatient group and 88.4% for the inpatient group. Noninferiority of outpatient surgery was documented for readmissions, reoperations, and patient-reported satisfaction from surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Outpatient lumbar decompression surgery demonstrated slightly lower nonroutine discharge rates in comparison with inpatient surgery. Noninferiority in clinical outcomes at 30 days and 3 months after surgery was documented for outpatient compared with inpatient decompression surgery. Additionally, outpatient decompression surgery performed noninferiorly to inpatient surgery in achieving patient satisfaction from surgery.