Comparing results of posterior spine fusion in patients with AIS: Are two surgeons better than one?

Matthew A. Halanski, Corey M. Elfman, Jeffrey A. Cassidy, Nabil E. Hassan, Sarah A. Sund, Kenneth J. Noonan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Aims: Spinal deformity surgery is one of the most complicated procedures performed in pediatric orthopedics. These surgeries can account for long operative times and blood losses. Finding ways to limit patient morbidity undergoing these procedures may benefit many. We hypothesized that utilizing two fellowship trained pediatric spinal deformity surgeons would lead to decreased operative time and blood loss when compared with single surgeon. We felt very little difference would be found in terms of curve correction. Methods: A retrospective review of spinal deformity surgeries performed at two institutions was performed. At one institution, the standard of care was to have two fellowship deformity trained surgeons perform all deformity surgeries simultaneously, while at the second institution posterior spinal fusions performed by individual surgeons were performed. The single surgeon cohort was further divided based on instrumentation type (pedicle screw vs hybrid constructs). Cases for this review were limited to posterior spinal fusions without osteotomies in patients with idiopathic or idiopathic like curves. Cohorts were compared pre-operatively for age at surgery, sex, BMI, largest Cobb angle. Intra-operative comparisons included total EBL, instrumentation type screws vs hybrid, levels fused, and operative time. Comparisons between largest remaining Cobb, EBL/level, time/level, lowest recorded Hb, allogenic transfusion requirements, length of PICU stay, and total length of hospital stay were then made. Pair-wise student t-tests was performed between cohorts with significance defined as a p-value of 0.05 or less. Conclusions: Twenty-four patients were found in the (BMP) cohort, where as eighty-two were found in the control group. No significant difference in age, sex, starting hemoglobin, BMI, or maximum pre-operative Cobb between cohorts was found. A significantly lower number of levels were fused in the BMP cohort than the control (9±2 vs 11±2) p<0.001, and likewise a significantly shorter operative time (average >2h) was seen in the BMP cohort. Interestingly, no difference in estimated blood loss, blood loss/level fused, operative time/level fused was observed, yet a significantly greater drop in hemoglobin (average 1g) p=0.001 and allogenic transfusion rate was seen in the control group (4% (1/24) vs 29% (24/82)) p=0.01. A greater improvement in Cobb angle was seen in the BMP group 46±8 vs 35±10° p<0.001. No differences were seen in nights in the PICU and peri-operative complications, however patients in the BMP averaged nearly 1day less in the hospital than in the control group.Utilizing a blood management program including two surgeons in spinal deformity surgery appears to decrease operative time, blood loss, and improve curve correction. Confounding factors such as differences in number of fusion levels, curve types, instrumentation type, and institutional practices prevents drawing definitive conclusions. This is the first study to show potential benefits of utilizing a blood management program with dual surgeons in spinal deformity cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-58
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Orthopaedics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • AIS
  • Dual surgeon
  • Morbidity
  • Scoliosis
  • Two-surgeon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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