Are Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeons or Classical Open Spine Surgeons More Consistent with Their Treatment of Adult Spinal Deformity?



Spine surgeons have a heuristic sense of how to surgically restore alignment and address adult spinal deformity (ASD) symptoms, but consensus on the extent of treatment remains unclear. We sought to determine the variability of surgical approaches in treating ASD.


Sixteen spine surgeons were surveyed on treatment approaches in 10 select ASD cases. We repeated the survey with the same surgeons 4 weeks later, with cases ordered differently. We examined the variability in length of construct, use of interbody spacers, osteotomies, and pelvic fixation frequency.


Treatment approaches for each case varied by surgeon, with some surgeons opting for long fusion constructs in cases for which others offered no surgery. There was no consensus among surgeons on the number of levels fused, interbody spacer use, or anterior/posterior osteotomies. Intersurgeon and intrasurgeon variability was 48% (kappa = 0.31) and 59% (kappa = 0.44) for surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery (MIS) versus 37% (kappa = 0.21) and 47% (kappa = 0.30) for those performing open surgery. In the second-round survey, 8 of 15 (53%) surgeons substantially changed the construct length, number of interbody spacers, and osteotomies in at least half the cases they previously reviewed. Surgeons performing MIS versus open surgery were less likely to extend constructs to the pelvis (42.5% vs. 67.5%; P = 0.02), but construct length was not correlated with whether a surgeon performed MIS or open surgery.


Spinal deformity surgeons lack consensus on the optimal surgical approach for treating ASD. Classifying surgeons as performing MIS or open surgery does not mitigate this variability.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Uribe, Juan S, Robert M Koffie, Michael Y Wang, Gregory M Mundis, Adam S Kanter, Robert K Eastlack, Neel Anand, Paul Park, et al. (2022). Are Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeons or Classical Open Spine Surgeons More Consistent with Their Treatment of Adult Spinal Deformity?. World neurosurgery, 165. pp. e51–e58. 10.1016/j.wneu.2022.05.078 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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