Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers develop program to reduce wrong-level labeling errors in spinal surgery

Written by Jackie Drees | February 06, 2019 | Print  |

Researchers at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Medicine designed a computer program that may help surgeons avoid spinal surgery errors linked to wrong-level labeling.

The current study, published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering in fall 2018, is an expansion of previous work authored in 2015 and 2016 on the LevelCheck algorithm, which was designed by Jeffrey Siewerdsen, PhD, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Five insights:

1. The computer program, called LevelCheck, uses a patient's preoperative MRI or CT scan to compare anatomical landmarks using mathematical algorithms.

2. The landmarks are then lined up, and the program transfers the digital labels of each spinal segment from the preoperative scan to the digital X-ray taken in the operating room.

3. The LevelCheck-verified spine segments are then presented to the surgeon to inform assessment of the correct spinal segment for surgery.

4. Researchers estimate that spine surgeons operate on the wrong spinal segment only about once every 3,100 surgeries.

5. "Operating on the wrong part of a spine is rare, but even once is too much for a patient and a surgeon," said Amir Manbachi, PhD, a research associate in Dr. Siewerdsen’s laboratory when the current research was completed, and now first author on the study. "LevelCheck is designed to help make such errors 'never' events."

More articles on practice management:
Hospitals could perform 57K more orthopedic surgeries annually with better scheduling, study finds
Hawaii medical center adds spine, orthopedics program: 3 things to know
Dayton Children's Hospital launches orthopedic services at new outpatient center: 3 notes

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies here.

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months