In the summary years of 2008 to 2011, there were 261,900 hospital discharges or outpatient visits for complications related to spine surgery. These were evenly distributed between men and woman, with an average age in the mid- to late 40s. Health care visits occurred most frequently in the population under age 18 years, and least frequently among persons age 65 years and older.
In addition, there were 1.87 million patient visits related to spinal infections. The majority of the spinal infection diagnoses were for discitis, an infection in the small spaces between the vertebrae of the spine. Only 1% of diagnoses treated in 2010 were to those under the age of 18 years. (Reference Table 3.1.1 PDF CSV and Table 3.1.2 PDF CSV)
Postsurgical infections, which are not isolated to spinal surgeries, accounted for 290,400 hospital discharges in 2011, and 217,600 emergency department visits in 2010, of which 63% were admitted to the hospital. Postsurgical infections were most commonly found in persons age 45 to 64 years. (Reference Table 3.2.1 PDF CSV)
The majority of health care visits for both spinal infection and complications of spinal surgery were to a physician's office, but 22% of cases for complications from spinal surgery resulted in re-hospitalization. (Reference Table 3.1.1 PDF CSV and Table 3.3.2 PDF CSV)
The average length of hospital stay (LOS) for infections and complications were 9.9 days and 8.8 days, respectively. Mean hospital charges for infections and complications were $76,100 and $92,000, respectively. Mean charges for complications of spinal surgery were second highest of all spinal deformity conditions evaluated. Charges related to males were higher than for females for both conditions, and were highest for the youngest patients, those age 17 years and younger. (Reference Table 3.4.1 PDF CSV)