Effect of Resident and Fellow Involvement in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery.



Adult spinal deformity (ASD) operations are complex and often require a multisurgeon team. Simultaneously, it is the responsibility of academic spine surgeons to train future complex spine surgeons. Our objective was to assess the effect of resident and fellow involvement (RFI) on ASD surgery in 4 areas: 1) perioperative outcomes, 2) length of stay (LOS), 3) discharge status, and 4) complications.


Adults undergoing thoracolumbar spinal deformity correction from 2008 to 2014 were identified in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Cases were divided into those with RFI and those with attendings only. Outcomes were operative time, transfusions, LOS, discharge status, and complications. Univariate and multivariable regression modeling was used. Covariates included preoperative comorbidities, specialty, and levels undergoing instrumentation.


A total of 1471 patients underwent ASD surgery with RFI in 784 operations (53%). After multivariable regression modeling, RFI was independently associated with longer operations (β = 66.01 minutes; 95% confidence interval [CI], 35.82-96.19; P < 0.001), increased odds of transfusion (odds ratio, 2.80; 95% CI, 1.81-4.32; P < 0.001), longer hospital stay (β = 1.76 days; 95% CI, 0.18-3.34; P = 0.030), and discharge to an inpatient rehabilitation or a skilled nursing facility (odds ratio, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.34-3.05; P < 0.001). However, RFI was not associated with any increase in major or minor complications.


RFI in ASD surgery was associated with increased operative time, the need for additional transfusions, longer LOS, and nonhome discharge. However, no increase in major, minor, or severe complications occurred. These data support the continued training of future deformity and complex spine surgeons without fear of worsening complications; however, areas of improvement exist.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Zuckerman, Scott L, Jaims Lim, Nikita Lakomkin, Khoi D Than, Justin S Smith, Christopher I Shaffrey and Clinton J Devin (2019). Effect of Resident and Fellow Involvement in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery. World neurosurgery, 122. pp. e759–e764. 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.10.135 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28222.

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Khoi Duc Than

Professor of Neurosurgery

I chose to pursue neurosurgery as a career because of my fascination with the human nervous system. In medical school, I developed a keen interest in the diseases that afflict the brain and spine and gravitated towards the only field where I could help treat these diseases with my own hands. I focus on disorders of the spine where my first goal is to help patients avoid surgery if at all possible. If surgery is needed, I treat patients using the most advanced minimally invasive techniques available in order to minimize pain, blood loss, and hospital stay, while maximizing recovery, neurologic function, and quality of life. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am an avid sports fan and love to eat. I try to stay physically fit by going to the gym and playing ice hockey.


Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

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