Effect of Resident and Fellow Involvement in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery

Scott L. Zuckerman, Jaims Lim, Nikita Lakomkin, Khoi D. Than, Justin S. Smith, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Clinton J. Devin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Adult spinal deformity (ASD) operations are complex and often require a multisurgeon team. Simultaneously, it is the responsibility of academic spine surgeons to train future complex spine surgeons. Our objective was to assess the effect of resident and fellow involvement (RFI) on ASD surgery in 4 areas: 1) perioperative outcomes, 2) length of stay (LOS), 3) discharge status, and 4) complications. Methods: Adults undergoing thoracolumbar spinal deformity correction from 2008 to 2014 were identified in the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Cases were divided into those with RFI and those with attendings only. Outcomes were operative time, transfusions, LOS, discharge status, and complications. Univariate and multivariable regression modeling was used. Covariates included preoperative comorbidities, specialty, and levels undergoing instrumentation. Results: A total of 1471 patients underwent ASD surgery with RFI in 784 operations (53%). After multivariable regression modeling, RFI was independently associated with longer operations (β = 66.01 minutes; 95% confidence interval [CI], 35.82–96.19; P < 0.001), increased odds of transfusion (odds ratio, 2.80; 95% CI, 1.81–4.32; P < 0.001), longer hospital stay (β = 1.76 days; 95% CI, 0.18–3.34; P = 0.030), and discharge to an inpatient rehabilitation or a skilled nursing facility (odds ratio, 2.02; 95% CI, 1.34–3.05; P < 0.001). However, RFI was not associated with any increase in major or minor complications. Conclusion: RFI in ASD surgery was associated with increased operative time, the need for additional transfusions, longer LOS, and nonhome discharge. However, no increase in major, minor, or severe complications occurred. These data support the continued training of future deformity and complex spine surgeons without fear of worsening complications; however, areas of improvement exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e759-e764
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Adult spinal deformity
  • Complications
  • Resident fellow training
  • Spine outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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