Anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion is a common spinal procedure. Over time, complications and hospital stay have decreased. However, to the authors' knowledge, no study has examined the necessity of routine postoperative hematologic laboratory studies for patients undergoing this procedure. From January 2005 through July 2010, four hundred thirty-four consecutive patients with cervical radioculopathy or myelopathy underwent anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion at 1 institution. Patients who had a concomitant second spinal procedure, revision anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion, history of anemia or a hematologic condition, or intraoperative complications were excluded, leaving 372 patients for the study group. Data were collected on postoperative hematologic laboratory studies ordered (complete blood count, coagulation studies, type, screen), postoperative blood transfusions, and readmissions within 1 month for anemia or transfusion. Patients were divided into those with and those without postoperative hematologic studies: 290 patients (119 one-level, 133 two-level, 38 three-level anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion) and 82 patients (41 one-level and 41 two-level anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion), respectively. No patient in either group required postoperative blood transfusion or readmission within 1 month for hematologic issues or surgery-related complications. For patients undergoing 1-, 2-, or 3-level anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion with no history of hematologic issues, routine postoperative hematologic laboratory studies may be deferred without affecting the incidence of postoperative blood transfusions or hematologic-related readmissions. The elimination of unnecessary routine studies may result in substantial health care cost savings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine