Artificial Intelligence Models Predict Operative Versus Nonoperative Management of Patients with Adult Spinal Deformity with 86% Accuracy.



Patients with ASD show complex and highly variable disease. The decision to manage patients operatively is largely subjective and varies based on surgeon training and experience. We sought to develop models capable of accurately discriminating between patients receiving operative versus nonoperative treatment based only on baseline radiographic and clinical data at enrollment.


This study was a retrospective analysis of a multicenter consecutive cohort of patients with ASD. A total of 1503 patients were included, divided in a 70:30 split for training and testing. Patients receiving operative treatment were defined as those undergoing surgery up to 1 year after their baseline visit. Potential predictors included available demographics, past medical history, patient-reported outcome measures, and premeasured radiographic parameters from anteroposterior and lateral films. In total, 321 potential predictors were included. Random forest, elastic net regression, logistic regression, and support vector machines (SVMs) with radial and linear kernels were trained.


Of patients in the training and testing sets, 69.0% (n = 727) and 69.1% (n = 311), respectively, received operative management. On evaluation with the testing dataset, performance for SVM linear (area under the curve =0.910), elastic net (0.913), and SVM radial (0.914) models was excellent, and the logistic regression (0.896) and random forest (0.830) models performed very well for predicting operative management of patients with ASD. The SVM linear model showed 86% accuracy.


This study developed models showing excellent discrimination (area under the curve >0.9) between patients receiving operative versus nonoperative management, based solely on baseline study enrollment values. Future investigations may evaluate the implementation of such models for decision support in the clinical setting.





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Publication Info

Durand, Wesley M, Alan H Daniels, David K Hamilton, Peter Passias, Han Jo Kim, Themistocles Protopsaltis, Virginie LaFage, Justin S Smith, et al. (2020). Artificial Intelligence Models Predict Operative Versus Nonoperative Management of Patients with Adult Spinal Deformity with 86% Accuracy. World neurosurgery, 141. pp. e239–e253. 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.05.099 Retrieved from

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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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