Accelerated discharge protocol for posterior spinal fusion patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis decreases hospital postoperative charges 22%

Austin E. Sanders, Lindsay M. Andras, Ted Sousa, Cathy Kissinger, Giovanni Cucchiaro, David L. Skaggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Study Design. A retrospective study of consecutive patients. Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine implementing an accelerated protocol could decrease our average hospital stay and what impact this had on postoperative pain management. Summary of Background Data. To our knowledge, no prior studies have reviewed the effect of an accelerated discharge protocol on postoperative pain control for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) following posterior spinal fusion. Methods. This is a retrospective review of all consecutive patients undergoing posterior spinal fusion (PSF) for AIS before (June 1, 2008-May 31, 2013=traditional protocol) and after (June 1, 2013-October 22, 2014=accelerated protocol) protocol implementation. Subjective response to the FACES Pain Intensity scale was collected for each postoperative day while in the hospital by the nursing staff. Results. There were 194 patients in the traditional pathway and 90 patients in the accelerated pathway. No significant differences in age at surgery, sex, or number of levels fused were present between the groups. Patients managed under the accelerated discharge had an average hospital stay of 3.7 days compared with 5.0 days for the traditional discharge (P<0.001). There was no increased incidence of wound complications between the two groups [3.6% (7/194) vs. 3.3% (3/90), P=0.91] or readmission [1.5% (3/194) vs. 4.4% (4/90), P=0.213]. Hospital charges for postoperative care were significantly less in the accelerated discharge group than in the traditional group ($18,360 vs. $23,640, P<0.0001). This corresponded to a 22% ($5280/$23,640) decrease in postoperative hospital charges. Patients had a small (<1 point change on FACES pain scale) but statistically significant increase in pain on postoperative days 2, 3, and 4 (P=0.0001, P=0.0079, P=0.0076). Conclusion. Accelerated discharge following PSF for AIS was associated with a 22% decrease in hospital charges in the postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Accelerated protocol
  • Adolescent
  • Discharge protocol
  • Financial impact
  • Hospital stay
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • Pain management
  • Posterior spinal fusion
  • Postoperative care
  • Scoliosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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