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Asian Spine J. 2018 Oct;12(5):854-861. doi: 10.31616/asj.2018.12.5.854. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

Impact of Multidisciplinary Spine Conferences on Surgical Planning and Perioperative Care in Elective Lumbar Spine Surgeries.

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VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Anesthesiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
Department of Radiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



Pre- and post-implementation analysis.


We examined the impact of implementing multidisciplinary spine conferences-"spine board" reviews-on the general utilization of elective lumbar spine surgeries in a tertiary medical institute.


A multidisciplinary approach to spine care reportedly improves the appropriate utilization of surgical spine procedures.


A multidisciplinary spine board was established to review candidates selected for elective lumbar spine surgery. The board comprised representatives from orthopedic spine surgery, neurosurgery, psychology, physical therapy, radiology, pharmacy, primary care, pain management, anesthesiology, and veteran advocacy. Two similar 6-month periods were selected to study the impact of this implementation: pre-implementing (June 1, 2015 to November 30, 2015) and post-implementation (June 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016) periods.


Between March 1, 2016 and December 30, 2016, the spine board discussed 11 patients. All patients underwent clinical examinations and radiological assessments findings that warranted elective lumbar surgery. The board recommended non-surgical interventions before proceeding with the planned surgeries in all cases. In the pre-implementation period, a total of 101 elective lumbar spine surgeries were performed. In the post-implementation period, a total of 51 elective lumbar spine surgeries were performed (p <0.05). The surgical plan for elective lumbar spine surgery in the post-implementation period was not directly influenced by the review of spine board because none of the cases were discussed in the conferences; however, the care occurred at a hospital where the spine board was implemented. There was no significant change in the number of cervical spine surgeries performed (66 preimplementation vs. 56 post-implementation). The average surgery duration was 52 minutes shorter in the post-implementation period compared with that in the pre-implementation period (p <0.05).


Implementation of a multidisciplinary spine board was concurrent with an overall decrease in the utilization of lumbar spine surgeries for elective cases of low back pain in a tertiary medical center.


Elective lumbar spine; Health care utilization; Multidisciplinary spine conferences; Spine surgery

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