Resource Utilization following Anterior Versus Posterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion for Acute Central Cord Syndrome.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

Clin Spine Surg


washington; swedish; swedish neuro


STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to compare the impact of anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) versus posterior cervical decompression and fusion (PCDF) for the treatment of acute traumatic central cord syndrome (CCS) on hospital episodes of care in terms of (1) cost, (2) length of hospital stay, and (3) discharge destination.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Acute traumatic CCS is the most common form of spinal cord injury in the United States. CCS is commonly treated with surgical decompression and fusion. Hospital resource utilization based on surgical approach remains unclear.

METHODS: Patients undergoing ACDF and PCDF for acute traumatic CCS were identified using the 2019 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review Limited Data Set and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2019 Impact File. Multivariate models for hospital cost of care, length of stay, and discharge destination were performed, controlling for confounders. Subanalysis of accommodation and revenue center cost drivers was performed.

RESULTS: There were 1474 cases that met inclusion criteria: 673 ACDF (45.7%) and 801 PCDF (54.3%). ACDF was independently associated with a decreased cost of $9802 (P

CONCLUSIONS: For treatment of acute traumatic CCS, ACDF was associated with almost $10,000 less expensive cost of care and a 60% decreased risk of discharge to nonhome destination compared with PCDF. The largest cost drivers appear to be ICU and medical/surgical-related. These findings may inform value-based decisions regarding the treatment of acute traumatic CCS. However, injury and patient clinical factors should always be prioritized in surgical decision-making, and increased granularity in reimbursement policies is needed to prevent financial disincentives in the treatment of patients with CCS better addressed with posterior approach-surgery.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)