Preoperative and Postoperative Spending Among Working-Age Adults Undergoing Posterior Spinal Fusion Surgery for Degenerative Disease

Majd Marrache, Andrew B. Harris, Micheal Raad, Varun Puvanesarajah, Jina Pakpoor, Mark Bicket, Hamid Hassanzadeh, Amit Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the health care resource utilization and the associated 6 months preoperative and 6 months postoperative spending among patients undergoing posterior lumbar fusion. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed a private insurance claims database for patients who underwent single-level posterior spinal fusion from January 2011 to December 2015. Outpatient health services, prescription pain medications, and inpatient admissions were assessed. Results: Among 25,401 patients (mean age, 52 years; 58% female) in the final cohort, median spending during the period from 6 months before surgery to 6 months after surgery was $60,714 (interquartile range [IQR], $46,961–$79,892)/patient. Preoperative spending accounted for 7% ($121 million) of the total costs, and postoperative spending accounted for 8% ($135 million). Median preoperative spending was $3566 (IQR, $2144–$5857) per patient, with imaging accounting for the highest proportion (33%) of preoperative spending. In the 6 months period preceding surgery, 46% patients received injections and 47% received physical therapy. The median postoperative spending was $1954/patient (IQR, $735–$4416). Total postoperative spending was significantly higher among those not discharged home (median, $7525; IQR, $6779–$19,602) compared with those discharged home (median, $1617/patient; IQR, $648–$4033) and home with home care services (median, $2921; IQR, $1406–$5662) (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Unplanned readmission after posterior spinal fusion was the highest contributor to postoperative spending and the second highest contributor to overall costs. Understanding factors that contribute to the costs in the preoperative and postoperative period in patients undergoing single-level posterior lumbar fusion for degenerative pathology is essential to identify targets for cost containment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e930-e939
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Health care costs
  • Health care utilization
  • Health economics
  • Hospital costs
  • Posterior spinal fusion
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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