Leave spinal fusions to the surgeons, spine societies warn


The recent technology advances in spine surgery allow for less invasive procedures and outpatient surgeries. But several spine societies have come together to warn against non-spine surgeons performing spinal arthrodesis.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery, were among the professional organizations that worked together on a position statement about spinal arthrodesis performed by non-spine surgeons. The statement was adopted in October and made public Jan. 12.

"As patient demand for minimally invasive techniques has increased, a significant number of non-surgeon clinicians now perform arthrodesis procedures that alter the biomechanics of the spine — despite the fact that arthrodesis of the spine remains outside the scope of training curriculum of physiatrists and pain management anesthesiologists who are currently performing these procedures," reads the statement.

The statement also highlights the difference in training between spine and neurosurgeons, and non-operative specialists: "Optimal patient care and patient safety are best served when surgical diseases affecting the spine are managed by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spinal surgeons trained in the full spectrum of spinal biomechanics, including instrumentation and fusion techniques. Therefore, arthrodesis or any other intervention that alters the biomechanics of the spine should not be performed by practitioners in other fields outside of specialty-trained neurosurgery or orthopedic spinal surgeons."

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