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Ethan S. Srinivasan, Melissa M. Erickson, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Khoi D. Than

Dr. Ruth Jackson, born in 1902, was the first female spine surgeon on record. Her story of remarkable resilience and sacrifice is even more relevant given the stark gender disparities in orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery that remain today. Dr. Jackson entered the field during the Great Depression and overcame significant barriers at each step along the process. In 1937, she became the first woman to pass the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery examination and join the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons as a full member. Her work in the cervical spine led to a notable lecture record and the publication of several articles, as well as a book, The Cervical Syndrome, in which she discussed the anatomy, etiology, and treatment of cervical pathologies. Additionally, Dr. Jackson developed the Jackson CerviPillo, a neck support that is still in use today. She left a legacy that continues to resonate through the work of the Ruth Jackson Orthopedic Society, which supports women at all levels of practice and training. From the story of Dr. Jackson’s life, we can appreciate her single-minded determination that blazed a path for women in spine surgery, as well as consider the progress that remains to be made.

Open access


Ethan S. Srinivasan, Timothy Y. Wang, Anna Rapoport, Melissa M. Erickson, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Khoi D. Than

In this video, the authors highlight the operative treatment of a 55-year-old man with chronic osteomyelitis discitis. The operation entailed a minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach for L3 and L4 corpectomies, L2–5 interbody fusion, and L2–5 minimally invasive posterior instrumentation. The operation proceeded in two stages, beginning in the lateral position with corpectomy of the L3 and L4 vertebral bodies and placement of a corpectomy cage. After closure of this access wound, the patient was turned to a prone position for the posterior element of the operation. Posterior instrumentation was placed with pedicle screws at L2 and L5.

The video can be found here:

Free access


Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Christine Park, Edwin McCray, Meghan Price, Timothy Y. Wang, Tara Dalton, César Baëta, Melissa M. Erickson, Norah Foster, Zach Pennington, John H. Shin, Daniel M. Sciubba, Khoi D. Than, Isaac O. Karikari, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr, Reza Yassari, and C. Rory Goodwin


In patients with metastatic spinal disease (MSD), interhospital transfer can potentially impact clinical outcomes as the possible benefits of transferring a patient to a higher level of care must be weighed against the negative effects associated with potential delays in treatment. While the association of clinical outcomes and transfer status has been examined in other specialties, the relationship between transfer status, complications, and risk of mortality in patients with MSD has yet to be explored. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of transfer status on in-hospital mortality and clinical outcomes in patients diagnosed with MSD.


The National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) database was retrospectively queried for adult patients diagnosed with vertebral pathological fracture and/or spinal cord compression in the setting of metastatic disease between 2012 and 2014. Demographics, baseline characteristics (e.g., metastatic spinal cord compression [MSCC] and paralysis), comorbidities, type of intervention, and relevant patient outcomes were controlled in a multivariable logistic regression model to analyze the association of transfer status with patient outcomes.


Within the 10,360 patients meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria, higher rates of MSCC (50.2% vs 35.9%, p < 0.001) and paralysis (17.3% vs 8.4%, p < 0.001) were observed in patients transferred between hospitals compared to those directly admitted. In univariable analysis, a higher percentage of transferred patients underwent surgical intervention (p < 0.001) when compared with directly admitted patients. After controlling for significant covariates and surgical intervention, transferred patients were more likely to develop in-hospital complications (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.18–1.52, p < 0.001), experience prolonged length of stay (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.16–1.52, p < 0.001), and have a discharge disposition other than home (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.46–1.98, p < 0.001), with no significant difference in inpatient mortality rates.


Patients with MSD who were transferred between hospitals demonstrated more severe clinical presentations and higher rates of inpatient complications compared to directly admitted patients, despite demonstrating no difference in in-hospital mortality rates.