Complication avoidance and management in ambulatory spine surgery

Evan D. Sheha, Peter B. Derman


The positive safety profile and potential cost savings associated with ambulatory spine surgery have resulted in an increasing number of spine procedures being performed on an outpatient basis. As indications become more inclusive and the variety and volume of ambulatory procedures grow, the incidence of complications may rise. Limiting adverse events in the outpatient setting starts with patient selection. Surgeons should be aware of the potential complications and associated risk factors for common ambulatory spine procedures and employ strategies to limit and appropriately manage them. Protocols which include patient education, multimodal anesthesia and analgesia, standardized post-operative monitoring, and safe discharge planning are also essential for maximizing safety in the ambulatory setting.