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Outpatient Spine Surgery

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Outpatient Spine Surgery

  • Dr. Charla Fischer
  • Mar 05, 2019

More and more spine surgeries are being performed in an outpatient setting than ever before. Advances in technology, equipment, and techniques have made this a popular option. NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center in NYC performs outpatient surgeries for patients facing spine surgeries when it is a good choice for both the patient and their health. Patients always make the final decision in where their surgery is performed, but here are some reasons to consider outpatient spine surgery.

What’s an outpatient spine surgical center?
This type of ambulatory care center focuses on spine surgeries. This specialization allows the facility and staff to provide the advanced care necessary for delicate spinal procedures. Outpatient spine centers often use special techniques for patient transport, different anesthesia methods, and unique pain treatment plans.

Are there benefits to outpatient spine surgery?
The overall goal of an outpatient spine surgery center is to provide the fastest procedure and recovery time possible, allowing patients to resume their normal activities as soon as possible. Many patients are released the same day as their surgery, providing the added benefits of a less expensive hospital stay and the ability to recover in their own home. These surgical centers strive to offer a personal experience that caters to spinal patients.

Why is there an increase in outpatient spine surgeries?
The most common reasons for the increasing popularity of outpatient spine surgeries are convenience, lower costs, improved patient experience, and higher patient demand.

How is the surgical experience different than inpatient?
Outpatient surgical centers usually offer very similar surgical services to hospitals, with a few differences that cater to spinal patients. Post-surgical care may be the biggest difference since the goal is to discharge patients the same day or the following day. If physical therapy is required, it is offered in an outpatient setting so that patients may recover in their homes instead of in the hospital.

What types of conditions are treated in outpatient spine surgery centers?
Emergency medical conditions are typically treated in a hospital, as are major deformities or spinal fractures related to infections or tumors. Outpatient spine centers are more for degenerative conditions, like spinal stenosis, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, or degenerative disc disease. Common procedures that NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer performs in outpatient settings include spinal fusion, cervical and lumbar disc replacement, or cervical and lumbar decompression.

Do they only perform minimally invasive procedures?
Most outpatient spine surgery centers do offer only minimally invasive procedures, which allow shorter surgeries, fewer complications, and quicker recovery times.

What happens if there’s a complication?
NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer at NYU Langone Medical Center screens patients carefully to ensure no conditions are present that cause a higher risk for surgery complications. If a patient is considered high risk, surgery in an inpatient setting may be recommended. In the event that a complication occurs during outpatient surgery, the same equipment is available for the staff to provide the best care for patients as they would in a hospital. If additional treatment is necessary, transfer to a hospital may be considered if the situation calls for it.

Are the costs the same as inpatient surgery?
Most outpatient surgery centers work with patient insurance so that billing is very similar to hospital billing processes. The costs can be noticeably lower in outpatient facilities, as the efficiency of a smaller setting avoids many of the unrelated fees that a large hospital accrues. Lower operating costs for outpatient centers means that cost savings can be transferred to patients when it’s time to pay the bill.

What about before and after surgery?
Preparing for outpatient or inpatient spine surgery is the same. Medications and food will likely need to be stopped a certain period of time before surgery. Outpatient surgery requires arranging a family member or friend to drive the patient home afterwards. NYC Spine Surgeon Dr. Fischer gives patients discharge instructions to help with successful recovery at home. Outpatient spine surgeries are the wave of the future and should be considered by patients who are good candidates.


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