Comparison of perioperative parameters and complications observed in the anterior exposure of the lumbar spine by a spine surgeon with and without the assistance of an access surgeon SPINE JOURNAL Smith, M. W., Rahn, K. A., Shugart, R. M., Belschner, C. D., Stout, K. S., Cheng, I. 2011; 11 (5): 389-394


The anterior approach to the spine is becoming an increasingly important avenue to treat spine conditions. Most of the literature reporting on the exposure uses an access surgeon assisting the spine surgeon to expose and prepare the spine for implant.To compare perioperative parameters and complications in anterior lumbar spine surgery with the exposure performed either by a spine surgeon or a general surgeon.A retrospective cohort study comparing perioperative parameters and complications of anterior lumbar spine surgery.A retrospective review was completed on 96 consecutive patients who underwent anterior spine surgery between Levels L3 and S1 from 1995 to 2008. Patient and surgery characteristics including demographics, comorbidities, perioperative parameters, and complications were logged. In the first 56 consecutive patients, a general surgeon completed the exposure, with an additional patient who later had the exposure performed by a general surgeon because of extensive prior abdominal surgeries. In the next 39 patients, the orthopedic surgeon completed the exposure.When the operation was performed solely by a spine surgeon, the estimated blood loss, operative time, and hospital stay was 204 mL, 2.80 hours, and 3.5 days, respectively. In the procedures completed with the aid of a general surgeon, it was found that the same parameters were 420 mL, 3.93 hours, and 4.7 days, respectively, and statistically significantly less in the group without the assistance of the general surgeon (p=.0007, p=.0003, and p=.0006, respectively). Fewer complications also were observed in that group (p<.00001). The most common complication was an ileus. Major complications including retrograde ejaculation, iliac vein bleeding, peritoneal rent requiring repair, dyspareunia, or scrotal/penile swelling were only observed in the group with the assistance of the general surgeon.This study indicated that a spine surgeon can successfully and safely carry out the anterior exposure to the spine without the aid of an access surgeon.

View details for DOI 10.1016/j.spinee.2011.03.014

View details for Web of Science ID 000290396800006

View details for PubMedID 21498131