Does the Day of the Week Affect Length of Stay and Hospital Charges Following Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

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To reduce the economic impact of excessive costs, risk factors for increased length of stay (LOS) must be identified. Previous literature has demonstrated that surgeries later in the week can affect the LOS and costs following joint arthroplasty. However, few investigations regarding the day of surgery have been performed in the spine literature. The present study attempts to identify the association between day of surgery on LOS and hospital charges following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedures.


A prospectively maintained surgical database of primary, level 1-2 ACDF patients between 2008 and 2015 was retrospectively reviewed. Patients were stratified by surgery day: early week (Tuesday) or late week (Friday) ACDF. Differences in patient demographics and preoperative characteristics were compared between cohorts using chi-square analysis or Student t test for categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Direct hospital costs were obtained using hospital charges for each procedure and subsequent care prior to discharge. Associations between date of surgery and costs were assessed using multivariate linear regression controlled for.


Two hundred and ninety-five patients were included in the analysis. One hundred and fifty-three patients underwent early week ACDF, and 142 underwent late week ACDF. Surgery day cohorts reported similar baseline characteristics. There were no differences in operative characteristics or hospital LOS between cohorts. Additionally, no differences in total or subcategorical hospital costs were identified between surgery day cohorts.


Patients undergoing ACDF later in the week exhibit similar LOS and hospital costs compared to those undergoing ACDF early in the week. These results suggest that outpatient procedures with short postoperative stays are likely not affected by the changes in hospital work efficiency that occur during the transition to the weekend. As such, hospitals should not restrict outpatient procedures to specific days of the week.

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