Opioid dependent patients incur higher costs after spine surgery — 4 study findings

Patients who remained or became opioid dependent after surgery for degenerative spondylolisthesis had significantly higher healthcare utilization and costs post-op, according to a study in the Journal of Neurosurgery

A total of 10,708 patients were analyzed and divided into four groups based on opioid dependence one year before and in the period of three to 15 months after surgery:

1. Prior nondependent who remain nondependent
2. Prior nondependent who become dependent
3. Prior dependent who become nondependent
4. Prior dependent who remain dependent

Here are four findings:

1. Patients in groups two, three, and four had longer hospital stays compared with those in the group one.

2. Patients in group four were less likely to be discharged home than those in group one.

3. At three to 15 months after discharge, patients in group four had 21 percent higher hospital readmission costs compared with those in group one. Patients in groups two and four were likely to incur 2.8 times the overall costs incurred by group one patients.

4. The median overall payments three to 15 months after surgery were $20,033 for group two, $19,654 for group four and $7,994 for group one. 

More articles on quality:
Most common claims related to bad anesthesia outcomes at ASCs — 7 study findings
Improved coordination after procedures can help curb opioid use — 4 study findings
Dr. Chad Brummett: 5 key research findings on opioid prescribing

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