Ambulation on Postoperative Day #0 Is Associated With Decreased Morbidity and Adverse Events After Elective Lumbar Spine Surgery: Analysis From the Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC)

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BACKGROUND: While consistently recommended, the significance of early ambulation after surgery has not been definitively studied.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the relationship between ambulation on the day of surgery (postoperative day (POD)#0) and 90-d adverse events after lumbar surgery.

METHODS: The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative (MSSIC) is a prospective multicenter registry of spine surgery patients. As part of routine postoperative care, patients either ambulated on POD#0 or did not. The 90-d adverse events of length of stay (LOS), urinary retention (UR), urinary tract infection (UTI), ileus, readmission, surgical site infection (SSI), pulmonary embolism/deep vein thrombosis (PE/DVT), and disposition to a rehab facility were measured.

RESULTS: A total of 23 295 lumbar surgery patients were analyzed. POD#0 ambulation was associated with decreased LOS (relative LOS 0.83, P < .001), rehab discharge (odds ratio [OR] 0.52, P < .001), 30-d (OR 0.85, P = .044) and 90-d (OR 0.86, P = .014) readmission, UR (OR 0.73, P = 10), UTI (OR 73, P = .001), and ileus (OR 0.52, P < .001) for all patients. Significant improvements in LOS, rehab discharge, readmission, UR, UTI, and ileus were observed in subset analysis of single-level decompressions (4698 pts), multilevel decompressions (4079 pts), single-level fusions (4846 pts), and multilevel fusions (4413 pts). No change in rate of SSI or DVT/PE was observed for patients who ambulated POD#0.

CONCLUSION: POD#0 ambulation is associated with a significantly decreased risk for several key adverse events after lumbar spine surgery. Decreasing the incidence of these outcomes would be associated with significant cost savings. As ambulation POD#0 is a modifiable factor in any patient's postoperative care following most spine surgery, it should be encouraged and incorporated into spine-related, enhanced-recovery-after-surgery programs.

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ePub ahead of print