Geographic and Hospital Variation in Cost of Lumbar Laminectomy and Lumbar Fusion for Degenerative Conditions

Corinna C. Zygourakis, Caterina Y. Liu, Glenn Wakam, Christopher Moriates, Christy Boscardin, Christopher P. Ames, Praveen V. Mummaneni, John Ratliff, R. Adams Dudley, Ralph Gonzales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Spinal surgery costs vary significantly across hospitals and regions, but there is insufficient understanding of what drives this variation. OBJECTIVE: To examine the factors underlying the cost variation for lumbar laminectomy/discectomy and lumbar fusions. METHODS: We obtained patient information (age, gender, race, severity of illness, risk of mortality, population of county of residence, median zipcode income, insurance status, elective vs nonelective admission, length of stay) and hospital data (region, hospital type, bed size, wage index) for all patients who underwent lumbar laminectomy/discectomy (n = 181 267) or lumbar fusions (n = 433 364) for degenerative conditions in the 2001 to 2013 National Inpatient Sample database. We performed unadjusted and adjusted analyses to determine which factors affect cost. RESULTS: Mean costs for lumbar laminectomy/discectomy and lumbar fusion increased from $8316 and $21 473 in 2001 (in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars), to $11 405 and $29 438, respectively, in 2013. There was significant regional variation in cost, with the West being the most expensive region across all years and showing the steepest increase in cost over time. After adjusting for patient and hospital factors, the West was 23% more expensive than the Northeast for lumbar laminectomy/discectomy, and 25% more expensive than the Northeast for lumbar fusion (P <.01). Higher wage index, smaller hospital bed size, and rural/urban nonteaching hospital type were also associated with higher cost for lumbar laminectomy/discectomy and fusion (P <.01). CONCLUSION: After adjusting for patient factors and wage index, the Western region, hospitals with smaller bed sizes, and rural/urban nonteaching hospitals were associated with higher costs for lumbar laminectomy/discectomy and lumbar fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-340
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr Ames is a consultant for DePuy Synthes, Stryker, and Medtronic, receives royalties from Stryker, and holds a patent with Fish & Richardson, P.C. Dr Mummaneni is a consultant for and receives royalties from DePuy Spine, receives honoraria from AO Spine, royalties from Thieme, Springer, and Taylor and Francis publishing, and holds stock in Spinicity/ISD. Dr Zygourakis is supported by a research fellowship from the UCSF Center for Healthcare Value. The authors have no personal, financial, or institutional interest in any of the drugs, materials, or devices described in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.


  • Cost of surgery
  • Cost variation
  • Geographic variation
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Lumbar laminectomy
  • National inpatient sample (NIS) database


Dive into the research topics of 'Geographic and Hospital Variation in Cost of Lumbar Laminectomy and Lumbar Fusion for Degenerative Conditions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this