Disc surgery is gradually being transformed from an inpatient to an outpatient procedure in many hospitals. Clinical medicine is yielding to economic pressures, which are causing a major change in surgical practice. Some recent studies have indicated that open lumbar disc surgery could be performed as an outpatient under general anesthesia with a high success rate and high levels of patient satisfaction.
This is not to say that every patient could be discharged on the same day following lumbar disc surgery. Usually if a patient stays in the hospital it is because of inadequate pain control or inability to void urine. There is no question that day surgery for lumbar disc surgery (laminectomy) can approach inpatient surgery inefficacy in properly selected patients.
Preoperative planning and patient preparation are key and essential to successful outpatient laminectomy.
Cost savings can be substantial and in one study averaged about $2,000.00 per surgery.
Patients must be very adequately prepared before hand about what to expect from their outpatient procedure and the surgery must be done in the morning so that patients have ample time to recover before evening. A very responsible person needs to be available at home to monitor the patient's progress.
Whether lumbar disc surgery can ever achieve the accepted status of outpatient surgery that many other procedures have reached is difficult to predict at this point in time.