1. Outpatient spine surgery has been proven effective, and is growing. There have been several advances within the spine systems and surgical technology to perform minimally invasive spine surgery; equally as important are the advancements in anesthesia, pain ...
and infection control in allowing spine surgeons to move their cases into the outpatient setting.
“The transition into the outpatient setting was made possible by cameras, microscopes and other visualization techniques so we could see things clearly, as well as anesthesia for these patients,”
says Santi Rao, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon of California Spine Care in Conford, which performs outpatient surgery at San Ramon Surgery Center.
“The patient benefits with outpatient spine surgery because there is less recovery time and less collateral damage from the minimally invasive spine procedure.”
Patients who undergo minimal access spine surgery have less blood loss. Postoperative pain management has developed so that patients can return home the same day as surgery.
“We have to give credit to development in anesthetic techniques, which have improved considerably over the past 15 years,” says Dr. Rao. “Patients are now able to wake up and go home earlier without any side effects. They wake up after surgery as if nothing had happened and they feel much better.”
In the future, surgeons may be encouraged to make the change because surgery centers are more economically viable for insurance companies. “It costs a fraction of the price to perform a case outpatient instead of in an inpatient facility,” says Dr. Hieu Ball, MD, an adult and pediatric spine surgeon with California Comprehensive Spine Institute in Walnut Creek. “The cost savings is staggering for insurance companies, but in many cases the insurance companies are not encouraging or recognizing that value.”