Influence of a Preoperative Conference on Surgeons’ Decision-making for Adult Spinal Disorders: A Prospective Clinical Study From a Spine Hospital

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Abstract

Study Design:

This was a prospective clinical study.

Objective:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of a preoperative conference on spine surgeons’ decision-making in the treatment of adult spinal disorders.

Summary and Background Data:

There are several factors that spine surgeons have to consider when determining a surgical plan for the treatment of spinal disorders, which include surgical approach, application of fusion or nonfusion surgery, levels to be treated, treatment of accompanying spinal conditions, the need for further preoperative imaging, and the implant type to be used.

Materials and Methods:

A consecutive series of patients with a variety of adult spinal disorders at a single spine hospital were analyzed. The imaging modalities and clinical examination history of these patients were presented at a daily preoperative conference attended by staff spine surgeons and spine surgery fellows at this spine hospital. The specific surgical plan before the preoperative conference and before the surgery were compared for each patient.

Results:

A total of 506 consecutive patients were reviewed over a 4-month period. Changes in the surgical plan following the preoperative conference occurred in 29 cases (5.7%). Seventeen of these changes were minor modifications in the same surgical level, or inclusion/exclusion of adjacent or other levels in the surgical plan, without changing the planned surgical approach. The surgical approach changed in a total of 12 cases (2.3%). Statistical analysis showed that the surgeons with experience of <10 years and orthopedic surgeons changed their surgical plan more often after the preoperative conference (P<0.05).

Conclusions:

Preoperative conference for the surgical treatment of adult spinal disorders influenced the surgical plan in 5.7% of surgeries. This type of daily preoperative conference seems to have only a minor impact on spine surgeons’ decision-making, but, instead, it could be used to provide training and insight to better a fellow or resident’s education at the spine institution.

Level of Evidence:

Level IV.

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