Spine Surgery Complications in the Ambulatory Surgical Center Setting: Systematic Review : Clinical Spine Surgery

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Spine Surgery Complications in the Ambulatory Surgical Center Setting

Systematic Review

Cha, Elliot D.K. MS; Lynch, Conor P. MS; Hrynewycz, Nadia M. BS; Geoghegan, Cara E. BS; Mohan, Shruthi BS; Jadczak, Caroline N. BS; Parrish, James M. MPH; Jenkins, Nathaniel W. MS; Singh, Kern MD

Author Information
Clinical Spine Surgery 35(3):p 118-126, April 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/BSD.0000000000001225


Study Design: 

This was a systematic review study.


This study aims to review current literature to determine the rates of complications in relation to spine surgery in ambulatory surgery centers (ASC).


Recent improvements in anesthesia, surgical techniques, and technological advances have facilitated a rise in the use of ASC. Despite the benefits and lower costs associated with ASCs, there is inconsistent reporting of complication rates.


This systematic review was completed utilizing the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). Pertinent studies were identified through Embase and PubMed databases using the search string (((“ambulatory surgery center”) AND “spine surgery”) AND “complications”). Articles were excluded if they did not report outpatient surgery in an ASC, did not define complications, were in a language other than English, were non-human studies, or if the articles were classified as reviews, book chapters, single case reports, or small case series (≤10 patients). The primary outcome was the frequency of complications with respect to various categories.


Our query identified 150 articles. After filtering relevance by title, abstract, and full text, 22 articles were included. After accounting for 2 studies that were conducted on the same study sample, a total of 11,245 patients were analyzed in this study. The most recent study reported results from May 2019. While 5 studies did not list their surgical technique, studies reported techniques including open (6), minimally invasive surgery (2), endoscopic (4), microsurgery (1), and combined techniques (4). The following rates of complications were determined: cardiac 0.29% (3/1027), vascular 0.25% (18/7116), pulmonary 0.60% (11/1839), gastrointestinal 1.12% (2/179), musculoskeletal/spine/operative 0.59% (24/4053), urologic 0.80% (2/250), transient neurological 0.67% (31/4616), persistent neurological 0.61% (9/1479), pain related 0.57% (20/3479), and wound site 0.68% (28/4092).


After literature review, this is the first study to comprehensively analyze the current state of literature reporting on the complication profile of all ASC spine surgery procedures. The most common complications were gastrointestinal (1.12%) and the most infrequent were vascular (0.25%). Case reports varied significantly with regard to the type and rate of complications reported. This study provides complication profiles to assist surgeons in counseling patients on the most realistic expectations.

Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

You can read the full text of this article if you:

Access through Ovid