Outpatient Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: Indications and Clinical Experience in a Consecutive Series of 390 Patients

Neurosurg Q 2010;20:107–110

Objective: To assess the safety and efficacy of outpatient anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) carried out on outpatients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 390 consecutive patients who underwent outpatient ACDF between September 2002 and September 2007 to assess the safety and efficacy of outpatient anterior cervical surgery. The mean age of the patient sample was 46; 56% were female and 44% were male. Indications for surgery consisted of cervical radiculopathy or myelopathy. Charts were reviewed to define patient demographics and medical comorbidities. Operative data, including levels treated, surgery time, time to discharge, and intraoperative complications were collected. Clinical outcomes were collected using the PhDx Clinical Outcomes Database. Need for hospital transfer from the ambulatory surgical center, emergency room visits, and subsequent hospital admission in the perioperative period were determined from patient records. Complications, patient satisfaction, and outcome were ascertained through review of notes from the first postoperative visit.

Results: There was no mortality and there were no major complications. Out of 390 patients, operation was carried out at 1 level in 223 patients, at 2 levels in 143, and at 3 levels in 24. Pain was present in 99%, motor deficit in 31%, and myelopathy in 14%. Twenty-five percent were hypertensive, 5% were diabetic, and 2% had coronary artery disease. The incidence of hospital transfer for ACDF related complications was <1%, emergency room visits <1% and subsequent hospitalization <1%. At the time of the first postoperative visit 92% of patients believed that they were improved and only 1% of patients had transiently increased radicular weakness.

Conclusion: Outpatient ACDF is safe and efficacious in selected patients.