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Open Access Assessment of variability in Turkish spine surgeons' trauma practices

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyse the variability among Turkish spinal surgeons in the management of thoracolumbar fractures by carrying out a web survey. Methods: An invitation text and web-link of the survey were sent to the members of the Turkish Spine Society mail group. A fictitious spine trauma vignette, a 23 year-old male with a L1 burst fracture, was presented and 25 questions were asked to participants. Variability of answers in a given question was assessed with the Index of Qualitative Variation (IQV). Questions with high IQV values (>%80) were selected to evaluate the relation between participant factors (speciality, age, degree and experience level of the surgeon, type of the work centre and volume of the trauma patients). Results: Sixty-four (88%) among the 73 participating surgeons completed the survey. 45 (70%) of them were orthopaedic surgeons and 19 (30%) were neurosurgeons. 11 questions had very high variability (IQV ≥ 0.80), 5 had high variability (0.58–0.75) and 2 had low variability (IQV≤0.20). The question with the highest variability was related to the use of brace after surgery (IQV = 0.93). Following one was about the selection of fixation levels (IQV = 0.91). Neurosurgeons were more likely to use brace postoperatively and professors were less likely to perform decompression. Conclusion: This survey shows that thoracolumbar spine trauma practice significantly varies among Turkish spine surgeons. Surgeons' characteristics affected some specific answers. Lack of enough knowledge about spine trauma care, fracture classifications and surgical techniques and/or ethical factors may be other reasons for this variability.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Gaziosmanpaşa Taksim Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey 2: Gazi University Faculty of Medicine, Orthopaedics and Traumatology Department, Ankara, Turkey 3: Ankara ARTES Spine Center, Turkey

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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