BACKGROUND: While consistently recommended, the significance of early ambulation after surgery has not been definitively studied. OBJECTIVE: To identify the relationship between ambulation on the day of surgery (postoperative day (POD)#0) and 90-d adverse events after lumbar surgery. METHODS: The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) is a prospective multicenter registry of spine surgery patients. As part of routine postoperative care, patients either ambulated on POD#0 or did not. The 90-d adverse events of length of stay (LOS), urinary retention (UR), urinary tract infection (UTI), ileus, readmission, surgical site infection (SSI), pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis (PE/DVT), and disposition to a rehab facility were measured. RESULTS: A total of 23 295 lumbar surgery patients were analyzed. POD#0 ambulation was associated with decreased LOS (relative LOS 0.83, P< .001), rehab discharge (odds ratio [OR] 0.52, P< .001), 30-d (OR 0.85, P= .044) and 90-d (OR 0.86, P= .014) readmission, UR (OR 0.73, P= 10), UTI (OR 73, P= .001), and ileus (OR 0.52, P< .001) for all patients. Significant improvements in LOS, rehab discharge, readmission, UR, UTI, and ileus were observed in subset analysis of single-level decompressions (4698 pts), multilevel decompressions (4079 pts), single-level fusions (4846 pts), and multilevel fusions (4413 pts). No change in rate of SSI or DVT/PE was observed for patients who ambulated POD#0. CONCLUSION: POD#0 ambulation is associated with a significantly decreased risk for several key adverse events after lumbar spine surgery. Decreasing the incidence of these outcomes would be associated with significant cost savings. As ambulation POD#0 is a modifiable factor in any patient’s postoperative care following most spine surgery, it should be encouraged and incorporated into spine-related, enhanced-recovery-after-surgery programs.
- Adverse events
- Elective lumbar spine surgery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology