Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Objective: To investigate the effect of preoperative epidural steroid injection (ESI) on quality outcomes and costs in patients undergoing surgery for cervical degenerative disease.
Methods: We queried the MarketScan database, a national administrative claims dataset, to identify patients who underwent cervical degenerative surgery from 2007 to 2016. Patients under 18 and patients with history of tumor or trauma were excluded. Patients were stratified by ESI use at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 or more months preoperative. Propensity score matched controls for these groups were obtained. Baseline demographics, postoperative complications, reoperations, readmissions, and costs were compared via univariate and multivariate analysis.
Results: 97 117 patients underwent cervical degenerative surgery, of which 29 963 (30.7%) had ESI use at any time preoperatively. Overall, 90-day complication rate was not significantly different between groups. The ESI cohorts had shorter length of stay, but higher 90-day readmission and reoperation rates. ESI use was associated with higher total payments through the 2-year follow-up period. Among patients who received preoperative ESI, male sex, history of cancer, obesity, PVD, rheumatoid arthritis, nonsmokers, cervical myelopathy, BMP use, anterior approach, 90-day complication, 90-day reoperation, and 90-day readmission were independently associated with increased 90-day total cost.
Conclusion: ESI can offer pain relief in some patients refractory to other conservative management techniques, but those who eventually undergo surgery have greater healthcare resource utilization. Certain characteristics can predispose patients who receive preoperative ESI to incur higher healthcare costs.
Keywords: MarketScan; cervical; cost; epidural steroid injection; quality outcomes.