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Incorporation of Anterior Lumbosacral Spine Exposure into a General Surgical Practice

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Many spine surgeons enlist the aid of an “access surgeon” to provide anterior exposure of the lumbosacral spine. We proposed that a single, community hospital general surgery practice can successfully develop an anterior spine exposure program with acceptable clinical outcomes. One hundred and forty-three consecutive anterior exposures were performed between 2008 and 2014. Morbidity and 30-day mortality were recorded. The effects of American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status classification (ASA class) and number of levels exposed on length of stay (LOS) and estimated blood loss (EBL) was reported. The growth of the program during this period was also evaluated. During the six-year period, there were nine (6.3%) major complications and 17 (11.9%) minor complications with no 30-day mortality. The mean LOS was similar for one-level and two-level exposures (3.8 days). Mean LOS was higher in ASA III patients (4.4 days) than ASA I (2.9 days) or ASA II (3.2 days). Mean EBL for one-level exposures (336.3 mL) was not significantly different than EBL for two-level exposures (425.9 mL). EBLs in ASA class III patients were greater than in class I and class II patients. The program began in July of 2008 with a single spine surgeon and one operation that year. A high of 54 procedures, with seven different spine surgeons, was recorded in 2013. A single, community hospital general surgery practice can successfully develop an anterior approach to spine exposure program with acceptable clinical outcomes and with sustained growth of the program.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dekalb Surgical Associates, Decatur, Georgia, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2017

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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