Last month I had a lumbar discectomy. My back and leg pain were so much better I could have gone home right away. Instead I was in the hospital for 48 hours. I could have saved a lot of money if I left sooner. Can this be done on an outpatient basis?
Outpatient lumbar discectomies are on the rise. Data sources show a steady increase in the number of outpatient lumbar spine surgeries done in the United States. About 75 per cent of those procedures are discectomies.

Hospitals with higher rates of bleeding or infection may not have made the switch from inpatient to outpatient for discectomy just yet. Follow-up is needed to make sure that shorter postoperative monitoring doesn't drive the costs up instead of down.

Institutions focused on quality of care and patient safety may be slower to make the switch to ambulatory status for some surgeries like discectomy. More study is needed before discectomies are done routinely on an outpatient basis.