OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the use of guidelines for lumbar spine fusions among spine surgeons in North America.
METHODS: An anonymous survey was electronically sent to all AO Spine North America members. Survey respondents were asked to indicate their opinion surrounding the suitability of instrumented fusion in a variety of clinical scenarios. Fusion indications in accordance with North America Spine Society (NASS) guidelines for lumbar fusion were considered NASS-concordant answers. Respondents were considered to have a NASS-concordant approach if ≥ 70% (13 of 18) of their answers were NASS-concordant answers. Comparisons were performed using bivariable statistics.
RESULTS: A total of 105 responses were entered with complete data available on 70. Sixty percent of the respondents (n = 42) were considered compliant with NASS guidelines. NASS-discordant responses did not differ between surgeons who stated that they include the NASS guidelines in their decision-making algorithm (5.10 ± 1.96) and those that did not (4.68 ± 2.09) (p = 0.395). The greatest number of NASS-discordant answers in the United States. was in the South (5.75 ± 2.09), with the lowest number in the Northeast (3.84 ± 1.70) (p < 0.01). For 5 survey items, rates of NASS-discordant answers were ≥ 40%, with the greatest number of NASS-discordant responses observed in relation to indications for fusion in spinal deformity (80%). Spine surgeons utilizing a NASS-concordant approach had a significant lower number of NASS-discordant answers for synovial cysts (p = 0.03), axial low back pain (p < 0.01), adjacent level disease (p < 0.01), recurrent stenosis (p < 0.01), recurrent disc herniation (p = 0.01), and foraminal stenosis (p < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: This study serves an important role in clarifying the rates of uptake of clinical practice guidelines in spine surgery as well as to identify barriers to their implementation.
Montenegro, Thiago; Elia, Christopher; Hines, Kevin; Buser, Zorica; Wilson, Jefferson; Ghogawala, Zoher; Kurpad, Shekar N; Sciubba, Daniel M; and Harrop, James, "Are Lumbar Fusion Guidelines Followed? A Survey of North American Spine Surgeons" (2021). Department of Neurosurgery Faculty Papers. Paper 159.
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