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Michael M. Safaee, Alexander Tenorio, Joseph A. Osorio, Winward Choy, Dominic Amara, Lillian Lai, Serena S. Hu, Bobby Tay, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven, Vedat Deviren, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Charles M. Eichler, Christopher P. Ames and Aaron J. Clark

OBJECTIVE

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a powerful technique that provides wide access to the disc space and allows for large lordotic grafts. When used with posterior spinal fusion (PSF), the procedures are often staged within the same hospital admission. There are limited data on the perioperative risk profile of ALIF-first versus PSF-first circumferential fusions performed within the same hospital admission. In an effort to understand whether these procedures are associated with different perioperative complication profiles, the authors performed a retrospective review of their institutional experience in adult patients who had undergone circumferential lumbar fusions.

METHODS

The electronic medicals records of patients who had undergone ALIF and PSF on separate days within the same hospital admission at a single academic center were retrospectively analyzed. Patients carrying a diagnosis of tumor, infection, or traumatic fracture were excluded. Demographics, surgical characteristics, and perioperative complications were collected and assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 373 patients, 217 of them women (58.2%), met the inclusion criteria. The mean age of the study cohort was 60 years. Surgical indications were as follows: degenerative disease or spondylolisthesis, 171 (45.8%); adult deformity, 168 (45.0%); and pseudarthrosis, 34 (9.1%). The majority of patients underwent ALIF first (321 [86.1%]) with a mean time of 2.5 days between stages. The mean number of levels fused was 2.1 for ALIF and 6.8 for PSF. In a comparison of ALIF-first to PSF-first cases, there were no major differences in demographics or surgical characteristics. Rates of intraoperative complications including venous injury were not significantly different between the two groups. The rates of postoperative ileus (11.8% vs 5.8%, p = 0.194) and ALIF-related wound complications (9.0% vs 3.8%, p = 0.283) were slightly higher in the ALIF-first group, although the differences did not reach statistical significance. Rates of other perioperative complications were no different.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients undergoing staged circumferential fusion with ALIF and PSF, there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of perioperative complications when comparing ALIF-first to PSF-first surgeries.

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Darryl Lau, Alexander F. Haddad, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Rigid multiplanar thoracolumbar adult spinal deformity (ASD) cases are challenging and many require a 3-column osteotomy (3CO), specifically asymmetrical pedicle subtraction osteotomy (APSO). The outcomes and additional risks of performing APSO for the correction of concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity have yet to be adequately studied.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all ASD patients who underwent 3CO during the period from 2006 to 2019. All cases involved either isolated sagittal deformity (patients underwent standard PSO) or concurrent sagittal-coronal deformity (coronal vertical axis [CVA] ≥ 4.0 cm; patients underwent APSO). Perioperative and 2-year follow-up outcomes were compared between patients with isolated sagittal imbalance who underwent PSO and those with concurrent sagittal-coronal imbalance who underwent APSO.

RESULTS

A total of 390 patients were included: 338 who underwent PSO and 52 who underwent APSO. The mean patient age was 64.6 years, and 65.1% of patients were female. APSO patients required significantly more fusions with upper instrumented vertebrae (UIV) in the upper thoracic spine (63.5% vs 43.3%, p = 0.007). Radiographically, APSO patients had greater deformity with more severe preoperative sagittal and coronal imbalance: sagittal vertical axis (SVA) 13.0 versus 10.7 cm (p = 0.042) and CVA 6.1 versus 1.2 cm (p < 0.001). In APSO cases, significant correction and normalization were achieved (SVA 13.0–3.1 cm, CVA 6.1–2.0 cm, lumbar lordosis [LL] 26.3°–49.4°, pelvic tilt [PT] 38.0°–20.4°, and scoliosis 25.0°–10.4°, p < 0.001). The overall perioperative complication rate was 34.9%. There were no significant differences between PSO and APSO patients in rates of complications (overall 33.7% vs 42.3%, p = 0.227; neurological 5.9% vs 3.9%, p = 0.547; medical 20.7% vs 25.0%, p = 0.482; and surgical 6.5% vs 11.5%, p = 0.191, respectively). However, the APSO group required significantly longer stays in the ICU (3.1 vs 2.3 days, p = 0.047) and hospital (10.8 vs 8.3 days, p = 0.002). At the 2-year follow-up, there were no significant differences in mechanical complications, including proximal junctional kyphosis (p = 0.352), pseudarthrosis (p = 0.980), rod fracture (p = 0.852), and reoperation (p = 0.600).

CONCLUSIONS

ASD patients with significant coronal imbalance often have severe concurrent sagittal deformity. APSO is a powerful and effective technique to achieve multiplanar correction without higher risk of morbidity and complications compared with PSO for sagittal imbalance. However, APSO is associated with slightly longer ICU and hospital stays.

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Zhuo Xi, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Minghao Wang, Huibing Ruan, Shane Burch, Vedat Deviren, Aaron J. Clark, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

One vexing problem after lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) surgery is cage subsidence. Low bone mineral density (BMD) may contribute to subsidence, and BMD is correlated with Hounsfield units (HUs) on CT. The authors investigated if lower HU values correlated with subsidence after LLIF.

METHODS

A retrospective study of patients undergoing single-level LLIF with pedicle screw fixation for degenerative conditions at the University of California, San Francisco, by 6 spine surgeons was performed. Data on demographics, cage parameters, preoperative HUs on CT, and postoperative subsidence were collected. Thirty-six–inch standing radiographs were used to measure segmental lordosis, disc space height, and subsidence; data were collected immediately postoperatively and at 1 year. Subsidence was graded using a published grade of disc height loss: grade 0, 0%–24%; grade I, 25%–49%; grade II, 50%–74%; and grade III, 75%–100%. HU values were measured on preoperative CT from L1 to L5, and each lumbar vertebral body HU was measured 4 separate times.

RESULTS

After identifying 138 patients who underwent LLIF, 68 met the study inclusion criteria. All patients had single-level LLIF with pedicle screw fixation. The mean follow-up duration was 25.3 ± 10.4 months. There were 40 patients who had grade 0 subsidence, 15 grade I, 9 grade II, and 4 grade III. There were no significant differences in age, sex, BMI, or smoking. There were no significant differences in cage sizes, cage lordosis, and preoperative disc height. The mean segmental HU (the average HU value of the two vertebrae above and below the LLIF) was 169.5 ± 45 for grade 0, 130.3 ± 56.2 for grade I, 100.7 ± 30.2 for grade II, and 119.9 ± 52.9 for grade III (p < 0.001). After using a receiver operating characteristic curve to establish separation criteria between mild and severe subsidence, the most appropriate threshold of HU value was 135.02 between mild and severe subsidence (sensitivity 60%, specificity 92.3%). After univariate and multivariate analysis, preoperative segmental HU value was an independent risk factor for severe cage subsidence (p = 0.017, OR 15.694, 95% CI 1.621–151.961).

CONCLUSIONS

Lower HU values on preoperative CT are associated with cage subsidence after LLIF. Measurement of preoperative HU values on CT may be useful when planning LLIF surgery.

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Darryl Lau, Alexander F. Haddad, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

There is an increased recognition of disproportional lumbar lordosis (LL) and artificially high pelvic incidence (PI) as a cause for positive sagittal imbalance and spinal pelvic mismatch. For such cases, a sacral pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) may be indicated, although its morbidity is not well described. In this study, the authors evaluate the specific complication risks associated with S1 PSO.

METHODS

A retrospective review of all adult spinal deformity patients who underwent a 3-column osteotomy (3CO) for thoracolumbar deformity from 2006 to 2019 was performed. Demographic, clinical baseline, and radiographic parameters were recorded. The primary outcome of interest was perioperative complications (surgical, neurological, and medical). Secondary outcomes of interest included case length, blood loss, and length of stay. Multivariate analysis was used to assess the risk of S1 PSO compared with 3CO at other levels.

RESULTS

A total of 405 patients underwent 3CO in the following locations: thoracic (n = 55), L1 (n = 25), L2 (n = 29), L3 (n = 141), L4 (n = 129), L5 (n = 17), and S1 (n = 9). After S1 PSO, there were significant improvements in the sagittal vertical axis (14.8 cm vs 6.7 cm, p = 0.004) and PI-LL mismatch (31.7° vs 9.6°, p = 0.025) due to decreased PI (80.3° vs 65.9°, p = 0.006). LL remained unchanged (48.7° vs 57.8°, p = 0.360). The overall complication rate was 27.4%; the surgical, neurological, and medical complication rates were 7.7%, 6.2%, and 20.0%, respectively. S1 PSO was associated with significantly higher rates of overall complications: thoracic (29.1%), L1 (32.0%), L2 (31.0%), L3 (19.9%), L4 (32.6%), L5 (11.8%), and S1 (66.7%) (p = 0.018). Similarly, an S1 PSO was associated with significantly higher rates of surgical (thoracic [9.1%], L1 [4.0%], L2 [6.9%], L3 [5.7%], L4 [10.9%], L5 [5.9%], and S1 [44.4%], p = 0.006) and neurological (thoracic [9.1%], L1 [0.0%], L2 [6.9%], L3 [2.8%], L4 [7.0%], L5 [5.9%], and S1 [44.4%], p < 0.001) complications. On multivariate analysis, S1 PSO was independently associated with higher odds of overall (OR 7.93, p = 0.013), surgical (OR 20.66, p = 0.010), and neurological (OR 14.75, p = 0.007) complications.

CONCLUSIONS

S1 PSO is a powerful technique for correction of rigid sagittal imbalance due to an artificially elevated PI in patients with rigid high-grade spondylolisthesis and chronic sacral fractures. However, the technique and intraoperative corrective maneuvers are challenging and associated with high surgical and neurological complications. Additional investigations into the learning curve associated with S1 PSO and complication prevention are needed.

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Justin S. Smith, Thomas J. Buell, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Han Jo Kim, Eric Klineberg, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Peter Passias, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert Eastlack, Vedat Deviren, Michael P. Kelly, Alan H. Daniels, Jeffrey L. Gum, Alex Soroceanu, Munish Gupta, Doug Burton, Richard Hostin, Robert Hart, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Shay Bess and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Although surgical treatment can provide significant improvement of symptomatic adult cervical spine deformity (ACSD), few reports have focused on the associated complications. The objective of this study was to assess complication rates at a minimum 1-year follow-up based on a prospective multicenter series of ACSD patients treated surgically.

METHODS

A prospective multicenter database of consecutive operative ACSD patients was reviewed for perioperative (< 30 days), early (30–90 days), and delayed (> 90 days) complications with a minimum 1-year follow-up. Enrollment required at least 1 of the following: cervical kyphosis > 10°, cervical scoliosis > 10°, C2–7 sagittal vertical axis > 4 cm, or chin-brow vertical angle > 25°.

RESULTS

Of 167 patients, 133 (80%, mean age 62 years, 62% women) had a minimum 1-year follow-up (mean 1.8 years). The most common diagnoses were degenerative (45%) and iatrogenic (17%) kyphosis. Almost 40% of patients were active or past smokers, 17% had osteoporosis, and 84% had at least 1 comorbidity. The mean baseline Neck Disability Index and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores were 47 and 13.6, respectively. Surgical approaches were anterior-only (18%), posterior-only (47%), and combined (35%). A total of 132 complications were reported (54 minor and 78 major), and 74 (56%) patients had at least 1 complication. The most common complications included dysphagia (11%), distal junctional kyphosis (9%), respiratory failure (6%), deep wound infection (6%), new nerve root motor deficit (5%), and new sensory deficit (5%). A total of 4 deaths occurred that were potentially related to surgery, 2 prior to 1-year follow-up (1 cardiopulmonary and 1 due to obstructive sleep apnea and narcotic use) and 2 beyond 1-year follow-up (both cardiopulmonary and associated with revision procedures). Twenty-six reoperations were performed in 23 (17%) patients, with the most common indications of deep wound infection (n = 8), DJK (n = 7), and neurological deficit (n = 6). Although anterior-only procedures had a trend toward lower overall (42%) and major (21%) complications, rates were not significantly different from posterior-only (57% and 33%, respectively) or combined (61% and 37%, respectively) approaches (p = 0.29 and p = 0.38, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

This report provides benchmark rates for ACSD surgery complications at a minimum 1-year (mean 1.8 years) follow-up. The marked health and functional impact of ACSD, the frail population it affects, and the high rates of surgical complications necessitate a careful risk-benefit assessment when contemplating surgery. Collectively, these findings provide benchmarks for complication rates and may prove useful for patient counseling and efforts to improve the safety of care.

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Darryl Lau, Vedat Deviren, Rushikesh S. Joshi and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

The correction of severe cervicothoracic sagittal deformities can be very challenging and can be associated with significant morbidity. Often, soft-tissue releases and osteotomies are warranted to achieve the desired correction. There is a paucity of studies that examine the difference in morbidity and complication profiles for Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO) versus 3-column osteotomy (3CO) for cervical deformity correction.

METHODS

A retrospective comparison of complication profiles between posterior-based SPO (Ames grade 2 SPO) and 3CO (Ames grade 5 opening wedge osteotomy and Ames grade 6 closing wedge osteotomy) was performed by examining a single-surgeon experience from 2011 to 2018. Patients of interest were individuals who had a cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) > 4 cm and/or cervical kyphosis > 20° and who underwent corrective surgery for cervical deformity. Multivariate analysis was utilized.

RESULTS

A total of 95 patients were included: 49 who underwent 3CO and 46 who underwent SPO. Twelve of the SPO patients underwent an anterior release procedure. The patients’ mean age was 63.2 years, and 60.0% of the patients were female. All preoperative radiographic parameters showed significant correction postoperatively: cSVA (6.2 cm vs 4.5 cm [preoperative vs postoperative values], p < 0.001), cervical lordosis (6.8° [kyphosis] vs −7.5°, p < 0.001), and T1 slope (40.9° and 35.2°, p = 0.026). The overall complication rate was 37.9%, and postoperative neurological deficits were seen in 16.8% of patients. The surgical and medical complication rates were 17.9% and 23.2%, respectively. Overall, complication rates were higher in patients who underwent 3CO compared to those who underwent SPO, but this was not statistically significant (total complication rate 42.9% vs 32.6%, p = 0.304; surgical complication rate 18.4% vs 10.9%, p = 0.303; and new neurological deficit rate 20.4% vs 13.0%, p = 0.338). Medical complication rates were similar between the two groups (22.4% [3CO] vs 23.9% [SPO], p = 0.866). Independent risk factors for surgical complications included male sex (OR 10.88, p = 0.014), cSVA > 8 cm (OR 10.36, p = 0.037), and kyphosis > 20° (OR 9.48, p = 0.005). Combined anterior-posterior surgery was independently associated with higher odds of medical complications (OR 10.30, p = 0.011), and preoperative kyphosis > 20° was an independent risk factor for neurological deficits (OR 2.08, p = 0.011).

CONCLUSIONS

There was no significant difference in complication rates between 3CO and SPO for cervicothoracic deformity correction, but absolute surgical and neurological complication rates for 3CO were higher. A preoperative cSVA > 8 cm was a risk factor for surgical complications, and kyphosis > 20° was a risk factor for both surgical and neurological complications. Additional studies are warranted on this topic.

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Michael M. Safaee, Alexander Tenorio, Joseph A. Osorio, Winward Choy, Dominic Amara, Lillian Lai, Annette M. Molinaro, Yalan Zhang, Serena S. Hu, Bobby Tay, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven, Vedat Deviren, Sanjay S. Dhall, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Charles M. Eichler, Christopher P. Ames and Aaron J. Clark

OBJECTIVE

Anterior approaches to the lumbar spine provide wide exposure that facilitates placement of large grafts with high fusion rates. There are limited data on the effects of obesity on perioperative complications.

METHODS

Data from consecutive patients undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) from 2007 to 2016 at a single academic center were analyzed. The primary outcome was any perioperative complication. Complications were divided into those occurring intraoperatively and those occurring postoperatively. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association of obesity and other variables with these complications. An estimation table was used to identify a body mass index (BMI) threshold associated with increased risk of postoperative complication.

RESULTS

A total of 938 patients were identified, and the mean age was 57 years; 511 were females (54.5%). The mean BMI was 28.7 kg/m2, with 354 (37.7%) patients classified as obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Forty patients (4.3%) underwent a lateral transthoracic approach, while the remaining 898 (95.7%) underwent a transabdominal retroperitoneal approach. Among patients undergoing transabdominal retroperitoneal ALIF, complication rates were higher for obese patients than for nonobese patients (37.0% vs 28.7%, p = 0.010), a difference that was driven primarily by postoperative complications (36.1% vs 26.0%, p = 0.001) rather than intraoperative complications (3.2% vs 4.3%, p = 0.416). Obese patients had higher rates of ileus (11.7% vs 7.2%, p = 0.020), wound complications (11.4% vs 3.4%, p < 0.001), and urinary tract infections (UTI) (5.0% vs 2.5%, p = 0.049). In a multivariate model, age, obesity, and number of ALIF levels fused were associated with an increased risk of postoperative complication. An estimation table including 19 candidate cut-points, odds ratios, and adjusted p values found a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 to have the highest association with postoperative complication (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS

Obesity is associated with increased postoperative complications in ALIF, including ileus, wound complications, and UTI. ALIF is a safe and effective procedure. However, patients with a BMI ≥ 31 kg/m2 should be counseled on their increased risks and warrant careful preoperative medical optimization and close monitoring in the postoperative setting.

Open access

Ifije Ohiorhenuan, Vedat Deviren and Juan S. Uribe

Deformity correction using minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques can be challenging. Here the authors present a case in which an anterior column resection was performed using an MIS lateral approach to restore lumbar lordosis and improve sagittal balance. The authors demonstrate the technique and discuss potential complications and how they may be avoided.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/XjOdDeKrKEE.

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Samantha R. Horn, Peter G. Passias, Cheongeun Oh, Virginie Lafage, Renaud Lafage, Justin S. Smith, Breton Line, Neel Anand, Frank A. Segreto, Cole A. Bortz, Justin K. Scheer, Robert K. Eastlack, Vedat Deviren, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Alan H. Daniels, Paul Park, Pierce D. Nunley, Han Jo Kim, Eric O. Klineberg, Douglas C. Burton, Robert A. Hart, Frank J. Schwab, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Cervical deformity (CD) correction is clinically challenging. There is a high risk of developing complications with these highly complex procedures. The aim of this study was to use baseline demographic, clinical, and surgical factors to predict a poor outcome following CD surgery.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of a multicenter prospective CD database. CD was defined as at least one of the following: cervical kyphosis (C2–7 Cobb angle > 10°), cervical scoliosis (coronal Cobb angle > 10°), C2–7 sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) > 4 cm, or chin-brow vertical angle (CBVA) > 25°. Patients were categorized based on having an overall poor outcome or not. Health-related quality of life measures consisted of Neck Disability Index (NDI), EQ-5D, and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale scores. A poor outcome was defined as having all 3 of the following categories met: 1) radiographic poor outcome: deterioration or severe radiographic malalignment 1 year postoperatively for cSVA or T1 slope–cervical lordosis mismatch (TS-CL); 2) clinical poor outcome: failing to meet the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) for NDI or having a severe mJOA Ames modifier; and 3) complications/reoperation poor outcome: major complication, death, or reoperation for a complication other than infection. Univariate logistic regression followed by multivariate regression models was performed, and internal validation was performed by calculating the area under the curve (AUC).

RESULTS

In total, 89 patients with CD were included (mean age 61.9 years, female sex 65.2%, BMI 29.2 kg/m2). By 1 year postoperatively, 18 (20.2%) patients were characterized as having an overall poor outcome. For radiographic poor outcomes, patients’ conditions either deteriorated or remained severe for TS-CL (73% of patients), cSVA (8%), horizontal gaze (34%), and global SVA (28%). For clinical poor outcomes, 80% and 60% of patients did not reach MCID for EQ-5D and NDI, respectively, and 24% of patients had severe symptoms (mJOA score 0–11). For the complications/reoperation poor outcome, 28 patients experienced a major complication, 11 underwent a reoperation, and 1 had a complication-related death. Of patients with a poor clinical outcome, 75% had a poor radiographic outcome; 35% of poor radiographic and 37% of poor clinical outcome patients had a major complication. A poor outcome was predicted by the following combination of factors: osteoporosis, baseline neurological status, use of a transition rod, number of posterior decompressions, baseline pelvic tilt, T2–12 kyphosis, TS-CL, C2–T3 SVA, C2–T1 pelvic angle (C2 slope), global SVA, and number of levels in maximum thoracic kyphosis. The final model predicting a poor outcome (AUC 86%) included the following: osteoporosis (OR 5.9, 95% CI 0.9–39), worse baseline neurological status (OR 11.4, 95% CI 1.8–70.8), baseline pelvic tilt > 20° (OR 0.92, 95% CI 0.85–0.98), > 9 levels in maximum thoracic kyphosis (OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.1–4.1), preoperative C2–T3 SVA > 5.4 cm (OR 1.01, 95% CI 0.9–1.1), and global SVA > 4 cm (OR 3.2, 95% CI 0.09–10.3).

CONCLUSIONS

Of all CD patients in this study, 20.2% had a poor overall outcome, defined by deterioration in radiographic and clinical outcomes, and a major complication. Additionally, 75% of patients with a poor clinical outcome also had a poor radiographic outcome. A poor overall outcome was most strongly predicted by severe baseline neurological deficit, global SVA > 4 cm, and including more of the thoracic maximal kyphosis in the construct.

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Darryl Lau, Vedat Deviren and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Posterior-based thoracolumbar 3-column osteotomy (3CO) is a formidable surgical procedure. Surgeon experience and case volume are known factors that influence surgical complication rates, but these factors have not been studied well in cases of adult spinal deformity (ASD). This study examines how surgeon experience affects perioperative complications and operative measures following thoracolumbar 3CO in ASD.

METHODS

A retrospective study was performed of a consecutive cohort of thoracolumbar ASD patients who underwent 3CO performed by the senior authors from 2006 to 2018. Multivariate analysis was used to assess whether experience (years of experience and/or number of procedures) is associated with perioperative complications, operative duration, and blood loss.

RESULTS

A total of 362 patients underwent 66 vertebral column resections (VCRs) and 296 pedicle subtraction osteotomies (PSOs). The overall complication rate was 29.4%, and the surgical complication rate was 8.0%. The rate of postoperative neurological deficits was 6.2%. There was a trend toward lower overall complication rates with greater operative years of experience (from 44.4% to 28.0%) (p = 0.115). Years of operative experience was associated with a significantly lower rate of neurological deficits (p = 0.027); the incidence dropped from 22.2% to 4.0%. The mean operative time was 310.7 minutes overall. Both increased years of experience and higher case numbers were significantly associated with shorter operative times (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively). Only operative years of experience was independently associated with operative times (p < 0.001): 358.3 minutes from 2006 to 2008 to 275.5 minutes in 2018 (82.8 minutes shorter). Over time, there was less deviation and more consistency in operative times, despite the implementation of various interventions to promote fusion and prevent construct failure: utilization of multiple-rod constructs (standard, satellite, and nested rods), bone morphogenetic protein, vertebroplasty, and ligament augmentation. Of note, the use of tranexamic acid did not significantly lower blood loss.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgeon years of experience, rather than number of 3COs performed, was a significant factor in mitigating neurological complications and improving quality measures following thoracolumbar 3CO for ASD. The 3- to 5-year experience mark was when the senior surgeon overcame a learning curve and was able to minimize neurological complication rates. There was a continuous decrease in operative time as the surgeon’s experience increased; this was in concurrence with the implementation of additional preventative surgical interventions. Ongoing practice changes should be implemented and can be done safely, but it is imperative to self-assess the risks and benefits of those practice changes.