Background The aim of this study was to characterize patients readmitted following inpatient general surgery procedures. We hypothesized that a decreased length of stay would increase risk for readmission. Methods We utilized our institutional National Surgical Quality Improvement Project database from 2006 to 2011. The main outcome of interest was 30-day readmission. Univariate and logistic regression analyses identified risk factors for readmission. Results We identified 3,556 patients, with 322 (9%) readmitted within 30 days after discharge. Multivariable analysis demonstrated age, dyspnea, and American Society of Anesthesiologists class to be independent risk factors for readmission. In addition, patients who suffered multiple complications had a decreased risk for readmission as length of stay increased. Patients with <2 postoperative complications had an increased risk for readmission as length of stay increased. Conclusions Contributors to postoperative readmissions are multifactorial. Perioperative factors predict risk for readmission and may help determine a target length of stay. Prevention of postoperative complications may reduce readmission rates. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.