The current state of United States spine surgery training: A survey of residency and spine fellowship program directors

Alan H. Daniels, J. Mason Depasse, Stephen T. Magill, Staci A. Fischer, Mark A. Palumbo, Christopher P. Ames, Robert A. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Study Design Program director survey. Objectives To collect data on spine surgical experience during orthopedic and neurological surgery residency and assess the opinions of program directors (PDs) from orthopedic and neurological surgery residencies and spine surgery fellowships regarding current spine surgical training in the United States. Summary of Background Data Current training for spine surgeons in the United States consists of a residency in either orthopedic or neurological surgery followed by an optional spine surgery fellowship. Program director survey data may assist in efforts to improve contemporary spine training. Methods An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to all PDs of orthopedic and neurological surgery residencies and spine fellowships in the United States (N = 382). A 5-point Likert scale was used to assess attitudinal questions. A 2-tailed independent-samples t test was used to compare responses to each question independently. Results A total of 147 PDs completed the survey. Orthopedic PDs most commonly indicated that their residents participate in 76 to 150 spine cases during residency, whereas neurological surgery PDs most often reported more than 450 spine cases during residency (p <.0001). Over 88% of orthopedic surgery program directors and 0% of neurological surgery PDs recommended that their trainees complete a fellowship if they wish to perform community spine surgery (p <.001). In contrast, 98.1% of orthopedic PDs and 86.4% of neurological surgery PDs recommended that their trainees complete a fellowship if they wish to perform spinal deformity surgery (p =.038). Most PDs agreed that surgical simulation and competency-based training could improve spine surgery training (76% and 72%, respectively). Conclusions This study examined the opinions of orthopedic and neurological surgery residency and spine fellowship PDs regarding current spine surgery training in the United States. A large majority of PDs thought that both orthopedic and neurological surgical trainees should complete a fellowship if they plan to perform spinal deformity surgery. These results provide a background for further efforts to optimize contemporary spine surgical training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalSpine Deformity
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • Competency-based training
  • Fellowship training
  • Program Director
  • Residency training
  • Simulation-based learning
  • Spine deformity surgery
  • Spine deformity training
  • Spine surgery training
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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    Daniels, A. H., Depasse, J. M., Magill, S. T., Fischer, S. A., Palumbo, M. A., Ames, C. P., & Hart, R. A. (2014). The current state of United States spine surgery training: A survey of residency and spine fellowship program directors. Spine Deformity, 2(3), 176-185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jspd.2014.02.005