A dual-team approach benefits standard-volume surgeons, but has minimal impact on outcomes for a high-volume surgeon in AIS patients

Vishal Sarwahi, Jesse Galina, Stephen Wendolowski, Jon Paul Dimauro, Marina Moguilevich, Chhavi Katyal, Beverly Thornhill, Yungtai Lo, Terry D. Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Study design: Retrospective chart review of prospectively collected data. Objective: This study seeks to evaluate the effect of number of surgeons, surgeon experience, and surgeon volume on AIS surgery. Summary of background data: Recent literature suggests that utilizing two surgeons for spine deformity correction surgery can improve perioperative outcomes. However, the surgeon’s experience and surgical volume are likely as important. Methods: AIS patients undergoing PSF from 2009 to 2019 were included. Patient demographics, X-ray and perioperative outcomes were collected and collated based on primary surgeon. Analysis was performed for single versus dual surgeons, surgeon experience (≤ 10 years in practice), and surgical volume (less/greater than 50 cases/year). Median (IQR) values, Wilcoxon Rank Sums test, Kruskal–Wallis test, and Fisher’s exact test were utilized. Results: 519 AIS cases, performed by 4 surgeons were included. Two surgeons were highly experienced, 1 of whom was also high volume. Five cohorts were studied: a single senior high volume (S1) (n = 302), dual-junior surgeons (DJ) (n = 73), dual senior–junior (SJ) (n = 36), dual-senior (DS) (n = 21) and a single senior, standard-volume surgeon alone (S2) (n = 87). Radiographic parameters were similar between the groups (p > 0.05). Preoperative Cobb was significantly higher for DS compared to S1 (p = 0.034) Pre- and post-op kyphosis were similar (p > 0.05). Cobb correction was similar (p > 0.05). Levels fused, fixation points, anesthesia and surgical times were similar (p > 0.05). When the standard-volume surgeon operated with a second surgeon, radiographic parameters were similar (p > 0.05), but anesthesia time, surgical time, and hospital length of stay were significantly shorter (p < 0.05). Additionally, DJ had significantly shorter anesthesia and operative times (p < 0.001) and length of stay (p < 0.001) compared to S2. Conclusion: Standard-volume surgeons have better outcomes with a dual surgeon approach. Junior surgeons benefit operating with an experienced surgeon. A high-volume surgeon, however, does not benefit from a dual surgeon approach. Level of evidence: Level II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-453
Number of pages7
JournalSpine deformity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Complication rate
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • Pedicle screws
  • Posterior spinal fusion
  • Surgeon volume

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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