The Effect Of Surgeon Experience On Outcomes Following Growth Friendly Instrumentation For Early Onset Scoliosis

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Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics


Background: The purpose of this study was to utilize a multicenter, multisurgeon cohort to assess the effect of surgeon experience on outcomes of growth friendly instrumentation (GFI) in early onset scoliosis (EOS). We hypothesized that unplanned return to the operating room (UPROR), estimated blood loss (EBL), and surgical time would be greater amongst early career surgeons (ECSs) when compared with advanced career surgeons (ACSs). Methods: An international pediatric spine database was queried for patients ages 2 to 10 years treated by posterior distraction-based GFI with at least of 2-year follow up. Two groups were created for analysis based on surgeon experience: ECSs (with ≤ 10 y of experience) and ACSs (with > 10 y of experience). The primary outcome was UPROR. Additional outcomes included: operating room time, EBL, neurological deficits, infection rate, hardware failure, and the Early Onset Scoliosis Questionnaire (EOSQ-24). Subgroup analysis was performed for further assessment based on procedure type, superior anchor type, etiology, and curve severity. Results: A total of 960 patients met inclusion criteria including 243 (25.3%) treated by ECS. Etiology, sex, superior anchor, and EOSQ-24 scores were similar between groups (P > 0.05). There were no clinically significant differences in patient age or preoperative major coronal curve. UPROR (35.8% vs. 32.7%, P = 0.532), infection (17.0% vs. 15.6%, P = 0.698), operating room time (235 vs. 231 min, P = 0.755), and EBL (151 vs. 155 mL, P = 0.833) were comparable between ECS and ACS groups. The frequency of having at least 1 complication was relatively high but comparable among groups (60.7% vs. 62.6%, P = 0.709). EOSQ-24 subdomain scores were similar between groups at 2-year follow-up (P > 0.05). Subgroup analysis revealed that ECS had increased surgical time compared with ACS in severe curves > 90 degrees (270 vs. 229 min, P = 0.05). Conclusions: This study represents the first multicenter assessment of surgeon experience on outcomes in EOS. Overall, surgeon experience did not significantly influence UPROR, complication rates, EBL, or surgical time associated with GFI in this cohort of EOS patients.

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