Quantitative analysis of a spinal surgeon's learning curve for scoliosis surgery

K. J. Ryu, S. W. Suh, H. W. Kim, D. H. Lee, Y. Yoon, J. H. Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Aims The aim of this study was a quantitative analysis of a surgeon's learning curve for scoliosis surgery and the relationship between the surgeon's experience and post-operative outcomes, which has not been previously well described. Patients and Methods We have investigated the operating time as a function of the number of patients to determine a specific pattern; we analysed factors affecting the operating time and compared intra- and post-operative outcomes. We analysed 47 consecutive patients undergoing scoliosis surgery performed by a single, non-trained scoliosis surgeon. Operating time was recorded for each of the four parts of the procedures: dissection, placement of pedicle screws, reduction of the deformity and wound closure. Results The median operating time was 310 minutes (interquartile range 277.5 to 432.5). The pattern showed a continuous decreasing trend in operating time until the patient number reached 23 to 25, after which it stabilised with fewer patient-dependent changes. The operating time was more affected by the patient number (r =- 0.75) than the number of levels fused (r = 0.59). Blood loss (p = 0.016) and length of stay in hospital (p = 0.012) were significantly less after the operating time stabilised. Post-operative functional outcome scores and the rate of complications showed no significant differences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-685
Number of pages7
JournalBone and Joint Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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