I'm self-insured and in need of some surgery to fuse my neck at two levels. I see they can do hip replacements on a same day basis. Could I have my neck fusion as an outpatient? It would probably save me a lot of money.
This isn't done routinely yet. It takes a special set of operating rooms to offer outpatient surgeries.
According to researchers in this area, patients must be selected very carefully for this kind of outpatient surgery. It must be the first spinal surgery for the patient. Only one or two levels can be done.
Fusion must be in the mid- to lower cervical spine. This includes C45, C56, and C67. The patient must not have any signs of pressure on the spinal cord. There must be help at home for them when they leave the surgery center.
When following these guidelines, a recent study shows the results were very good. There were very few problems. None of the patients had to be admitted to the hospital afterwards.
You may be able to have this surgery as an outpatient. It may depend on where you live and/or the status of the orthopedic community. Check with your local surgery centers and find out if it's already being offered in your area.
Jonathan R. Stieber, MD, et al. Anterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion with Plate Fixation as an Outpatient Procedure. In The Spine Journal. Month September 2005. Vol. 5. No. 5. Pp.503-507.
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