Elective Single-Level Primary Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion for Degenerative Spondylotic Cervical Myelopathy is Associated With Decreased Resource Utilization Versus Posterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion.

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Clin Spine Surg


washington; swedish; swedish neuro


STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVE: To compare elective single-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) versus posterior cervical decompression and fusion (PCDF) for degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) in terms of (1) cost, (2) length of hospital stay, and (3) discharge destination in Medicare patients. A sub-analysis of potential cost drivers was also performed.

BACKGROUND: In the era of value-based medicine, there is substantial interest in reducing the cost of care. Both ACDF and PCDF are used to treat DCM but carry different morbidity and risk profiles that can impact hospital resource utilization. However, this has not been assessed on a national level.

METHODS: Patients undergoing single-level elective ACDF and PCDF surgery were identified using the 2019 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) Limited Data Set (LDS) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 2019 Impact File. Multivariate models of hospital cost of care, length of stay, and discharge destination were performed, controlling for confounders. A univariate sub-analysis of 9 revenue centers was performed.

RESULTS: In all, 3942 patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean cost of elective single-level cervical fusion for myelopathy was $18,084±10,783, and the mean length of stay was 2.45±2.95 d. On multivariate analysis, ACDF was independently associated with decreased cost of $5,814 (P

CONCLUSIONS: Single-level elective primary ACDF for DCM was independently associated with decreased cost, decreased hospital length of stay, and a lower rate of nonhome discharge compared with PCDF. Medical and surgical supply, operating room, and accommodation differences between ACDF and PCDF are potential areas for intervention. Increased granularity in reimbursement structures is warranted to prevent the creation of disincentives to the treatment of patients with DCM with pathology that is better addressed with PCDF.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level-III Retrospective Cohort Study.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)