The Relationship Among Surgeon Experience, Complications, and Radiographic Outcomes in Spine Deformity Surgery: The Experience of a Junior Surgeon

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



World neurosurgery






Adult spine deformity; Complications; Outcomes; Surgeon experience


OBJECTIVE: To examine complication rates and radiographic outcomes in patients undergoing surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD) by a junior surgeon. METHODS: A study was conducted of a retrospective cohort of patients who underwent an open posterior interbody fusion of the thoracic and/or lumbar regions by a single surgeon for ASD between 2018 and 2022. Patient characteristics, complications, and common radiographic parameters of spinopelvic alignment were collated. RESULTS: A total of 112 patients with an average of 4.2 comorbidities underwent surgical correction of ASD. Thirty-seven patients (33.0%) experienced 52 major complications and 50 patients (44.6%) experienced 66 minor complications. Twenty-three patients (20.5%) required a revision operation. Both sagittal vertical axis (P < 10) and pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis mismatch (P < 10) significantly improved postoperatively. Number of levels (P < 0.05), operative time >650 minutes (P < 0.01), estimated blood loss >1500 mL (P < 0.01), length of intensive care unit stay >1 day (P < 0.05), and hospitalization length >5 days (P < 0.05) all significantly increased the risk of a major complication. No patient factors significantly increased the risk of minor complications or revision surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Observed complication and revision rates in this cohort were consistent with rates reported in the literature. No preoperative patient risk factors significantly increased risk of complications or need for revision, suggesting that no patient population is at increased risk undergoing surgery by a junior surgeon. The relatively high rate of complications observed in this cohort may be a result of high baseline morbidity.


School of Medicine and Health Sciences Student Works