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Surg Neurol Int. 2012;3(Suppl 5):S329-49. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.103866. Epub 2012 Nov 26.

How much medicine do spine surgeons need to know to better select and care for patients?

Author information

  • 1Clinical Professor of Neurological Surgery, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery, Bronx, New York, Chief of Neurosurgical Spine and Education, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, New York, President, Long Island Neurosurgical Associates, PC, 410 Lakeville Rd Suite 204, New Hyde Park, New York, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although we routinely utilize medical consultants for preoperative clearance and postoperative patient follow-up, we as spine surgeons need to know more medicine to better select and care for our patients.

METHODS:

This study provides additional medical knowledge to facilitate surgeons' "cross-talk" with medical colleagues who are concerned about how multiple comorbid risk factors affect their preoperative clearance, and impact patients' postoperative outcomes.

RESULTS:

Within 6 months of an acute myocardial infarction (MI), patients undergoing urological surgery encountered a 40% mortality rate: similar rates may likely apply to patients undergoing spinal surgery. Within 6 weeks to 2 months of placing uncoated cardiac, carotid, or other stents, endothelialization is typically complete; as anti-platelet therapy may often be discontinued, spinal surgery can then be more safely performed. Coated stents, however, usually require 6 months to 1 year for endothelialization to occur; thus spinal surgery is often delayed as anti-platelet therapy must typically be continued to avoid thrombotic complications (e.g., stroke/MI). Diabetes and morbid obesity both increase the risk of postoperative infection, and poor wound healing, while the latter increases the risk of phlebitis/pulmonary embolism. Both hypercoagluation and hypocoagulation syndromes may require special preoperative testing/medications and/or transfusions of specific hematological factors. Pulmonary disease, neurological disorders, and major psychiatric pathology may also require further evaluations/therapy, and may even preclude successful surgical intervention.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although we as spinal surgeons utilize medical consultants for preoperative clearance and postoperative care, we need to know more medicine to better select and care for our patients.

KEYWORDS:

Hematology; medical comorbidities; neurological/psychiatric -disorders; obesity; pulmonary; spinal surgery: cardiac disease; stroke

PMID:
23248752
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC3520072
Free PMC Article
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