When you think of spine surgery, you typically think about an intensive procedure that requires a hospital stay, long recovery, and a massive disruption to your daily life. But this is inpatient spine surgery.
Advancements in minimally invasive spine surgical techniques have enabled outpatient spine surgery to potentially be a better option for patients seeking relief from back pain. We caught up with Dr. Sujal Patel, an American Board of Orthopedic Surgery certified spine surgeon and expert, to learn more about outpatient spine surgery at Oasis Orthopedic and Spine.
How is an outpatient surgical experience different than an inpatient surgical experience?
Dr. Patel: “At Oasis, the check in process and beginning steps for an outpatient surgical procedure are quite similar to an inpatient procedure. It’s the post-surgery process that is most different for a patient.
After the minimally invasive surgery is complete, patients are taken to a recovery room where they are given something to eat. Once their pain is under control, they are taken to a second postoperative area for approximately 2 hours, then discharged to go home rather than having to stay overnight in a hospital room.”
What happens once the patient goes home? What do they need to know?
Dr. Patel: “Outpatients are given pain medication to help keep them comfortable in addition to discharge instructions specific to their condition. About one to two weeks later, we see the patient in our office to continue their care.”
What happens during that first appointment after an outpatient surgery?
Dr. Patel: “Typically, we start by taking a look at their incision. With minimally invasive outpatient surgeries, these incisions are typically very small but we still want to make sure that everything looks ok. Then we see how their pain is and address it when appropriate.
If x-rays are indicated, which is based on their specific condition, we would get and review them at this point.
Most of the time we get our patients post-operative physical therapy within two to four weeks after surgery.”
Is it possible for a patient to be considered too high risk for an outpatient spine surgery?
Dr. Patel: “Yes, depending on what their medical comorbidities are; or if they have any sort of a cardiac condition or any respiratory issues. Those are really the main reasons to limit risk and perform the surgery in an inpatient setting.”
Are outpatient spine surgeries less expensive than inpatient spine surgeries?
Dr. Patel: “Surgical centers and facilities are a little bit different than a hospital and every surgical center will charge differently. Typically, an inpatient procedure is more expensive than an outpatient procedure due the overnight hospital stay, bed fees, and additional in-hospital care.”
Outpatient minimally invasive spine surgeries can be used to treat a variety of spine and extremity disorders. If you are experiencing persistent pain, it may be time to explore your options. Dr. Patel and the Oasis team of orthopedic and spine experts can help you understand your options and choose what will work best for you. To get a head start on finding out what treatment is right for you, try our treatment finder tool below.
Oasis Orthopedic & Spine offers telehealth appointments in addition to in-person appointments.
We are dedicated to your safety during COVID-19 and are actively practicing the COVID-19 Safe Care Protocols at all of our locations so you can find the pain relief you deserve.