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Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:47. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.79769. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Wrong-level surgery: A unique problem in spine surgery.

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Department of Spine Center, Swedish Neuroscience Institute, 550 17 Ave., Suite 500, Seattle, WA 98122, USA.



Even though a lot of effort has gone into preventing operating at the wrong site and wrong patient, wrong-level surgery is a unique problem in spine surgery.


The current method to prevent wrong level spine surgery performed is mainly relied on intra-operative X-ray. Unfortunately, because of the unique features and anatomy of the spinal column, wrong level spine surgery still happens. There are situations that even with intraoperative X-ray, correct level still cannot be reliably identified.


Examples of patient whose surgery can easily be performed on the wrong level are illustrated. A protocol to prevent wrong-level spine surgery preformed is developed.


The consequence of wrong-level spine surgery not only generates another surgery of the intended level; it is usually also associated with lawsuit. Strictly following this protocol can prevent wrong-level spine surgery.


Spine surgery; wrong-level surgery; wrong-sided surgery

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