Welcome to Safety in Spine Surgery Month 2024. Join us on social media throughout the month of April as we focus on spine surgery safety. We will share safety resources, including downloadable Best Practice Guidelines and top talks from previous years. Learn the latest techniques relevant to this critical topic from experts in the field.

Watch for exclusive content throughout the month of April on your preferred social platform.

S3P Social Links:

For a more in-depth study of safety best practices and innovations, join us in New York City at the Safety in Spine Surgery Summit on May 31, 2024. Read More >

As part of the 2nd Annual Safety in Spine Surgery Month, we invite you to join us at two live webinars on April 14 and April 21, 2022. These events will be hosted and moderated by the Safety Month Chair Michael Vitale, MD and Co-Chairs John Flynn, MD; Roger Härtl, MD; Larry Lenke, MD; and Rajiv Sethi, MD.

The April 14 webinar will take place at 7:00 pm Eastern Time and will focus on Best Practice Guidelines. It will feature the publication of several checklists and protocols by the Safety in Spine Surgery Project as well as lectures and panel discussions with our esteemed chairs and faculty. In addition, 5 of the award winners of Best New Methodologies and Techniques to Enhance Safety in Spine Surgery will present their papers. This webinar will be CME-accredited. Click here for the full program.


The April 21 webinar will also take place at 7:00 pm Eastern Time. It will focus on Robotics and Navigation and specifically its use across generations of US spine surgeons. The other 5 of this year’s award winners will present at this webinar, plus faculty lectures, discussions, and technology updates from our corporate partners. Click here for the full program.


We hope you’ll join us for these two events and get involved with Safety Month on social media! Post your questions and contributions with the hashtags #safetyinspinesurgery and #s3p. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram for daily posts of Best Practice Guidelines and further resources.

We are looking forward to an exciting month of collaboration!


The Safety in Spine Surgery Project (S3P) is pleased to announce the 10 winners of the Safety in Spine Surgery Month Call for Abstracts / Call for Projects.

These award winners will present their work during our two live webinars in April.

April 14 Webinar | Best Practice Guidelines & Checklists to Make Your OR Safer
  • Artificial Neural Network Model for Prediction of Perioperative Blood Transfusion in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery
    Rafael De la Garza Ramos, MD
    Montefiore Medical Center
  • Formulation of a Web-based Spine Surgery Checklist
    Arvind G. Kulkarni, MD
    Mumbai Spine Scoliosis & Disc Replacement Centre
  • Post-operative Steroids in Patients with Severe Neuromuscular Scoliosis Undergoing Posterior Spinal Fusion Reduced Opioid Usage by 70%
    Nicholas Fletcher, MD
    Children's Healthcare of Atlanta/Emory University
  • Starting Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) from Scratch at an Academic Institution Spine Program
    Luke Harris
    University of South Alabama
  • Best Practice Consensus Guidelines for Diagnosing, Treating, and Preventing Surgical Site Infections in High-risk Scoliosis
    Paul Sponseller, MD
    Johns Hopkins Medicine

April 21 Webinar | Robotics & Navigation in Spine Surgery: Views Across Generations of Spine Surgeons
  • A Radiographic Comparison of Spinal Navigation and Freehand Techniques in Thoracolumbar Pedicle Screw Insertion
    Mohammed Munim
    Midwest Orthopaedics at RUSH, Rush University Medical Center
  • Augmented Reality to Increase Safety in Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion with Total Navigation
    Fabian Sommer, MD
    Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian
  • Novel 2D Long Film Imaging Utility to Avoid Wrong Level Spinal Surgery
    Rajiv Dharnipragada, BA
    University of Minnesota
  • Safety and Feasibility of Augmented Reality-assisted Resection of Benign Intradural Extramedullary Tumors
    Fabian Sommer, MD
    Weill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian
  • The Adjunct Use of Descending Neurogenic-evoked Potentials When Transcranial Motor-Evoked Potentials Degrade into Warning Criteria: Minimizing False-Positive Events
    Scott J. Luhmann, MD
    Washington University

Thank you for participating in Safety in Spine Surgery Month! We closed out the month with an excellent April 29 webinar on Leveraging the Team to Make Spine Surgery Safer. The replay will be available on our website next week.

Our last week of safety videos included some outstanding content & practical tips. We heard from:

  • Dr. Nicholas Fletcher on Mean Arterial Pressure Parameters
  • Dr. Sumeet Garg on Getting the Team on the Same Page
  • Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser on the Risks of K Wires and Guidewires in Spine Procedures
  • Dr. Michael Glotzbecker on Overcommunication
  • Dr. Massimo Balsano on his safety tips
  • Dr. Suken Shah on the Surgeon Performance Program
  • Dr. David Skaggs on Setting up Systems
  • Dr. Roger Härtl and Dr. Jacob Goldberg on Emergency Workflow Training

As always, you can review all these videos, plus our library of past talks, for free on the website.

We want to thank this week’s contributors, as well as this week’s partner organizations: SMISS, ISASS, SRS, Setting Scoliosis Straight Foundation, and POSNA.

We hope you’ll join us for next year’s Safety in Spine Surgery Summit (Spring 2022 in New York).

View all this week’s videos here.

Did you catch these highlights from Safety in Spine Surgery Month, Week 3? Our April 15 webinar was packed full of practical advice on implementing checklists and guidelines, and the faculty included leaders from the SRS, the AANS, POSNA, and more. We jammed a lot of education into those 2 hours! You can catch the replay on our website here.

Since we are talking about checklists, do you know about all the free safety in spine surgery resources on the S3P website? We have risk severity scores, checklists, pathways, and more.

We also continue to post daily videos about safety from a variety of leaders across all our social media channels. I think these videos are getting better and better! This week’s videos included:

  • Carlton Weatherby from Medtronic talking about their steadfast commitment to unmatched quality.
  • Dr. John Smith sharing about the success he’s seen in dedicated surgical teams and checklists—they make surgery “much more efficient, safer, and fun.”
  • We posted a clip from Dr. Roger Härtl’s 2020 talk about the market approval process for new technology.
  • Dr. Kevin Shea told us about the POSNA Safe Surgery Program. Learn more here.
  • Dr. Rick Sasso explained the No Strikeout Protocol he developed at the CSRS. This resource is free to download, too.
  • Dr. Chris Hardesty shared about peri-op care protocols, which “help remove variation in practice, which can help decrease variation in outcomes.”
  • Finally, we capped off the week with General Stan McChrystal, our Keynote Lecturer at the 2018 Safety in Spine Surgery Summit, sharing his thoughts on how teams impact safety.

As always, you can review all these videos, plus our library of past talks, for free on the website.

We want to thank this week’s contributors, as well as this week’s partner organizations: Medtronic, Pediatric Spine Study Group & the Pediatric Spine Foundation, POSNA, and the CSRS.

We still want to hear from you! Post safety tips or questions on your own social media—tag us, and you might win a $100 gift card! Winners are drawn each week from all social media channels.

View all this week’s videos here.

We had some amazing videos sharing the message about safety in spine surgery, with both top-level commentary as well as practical tips. This week our daily safety tip videos were seen by over 11,000 people, and our overall audience grew by 40%. Highlights included:

  • Dr. Lehman asked us, “Why is it safer to fly in an airplane than to have surgery?,” in his video on Safety By the Numbers.
  • Prof Carl-Eric Aubin shared about the biomechanical considerations in assessing spinal instrumentation for safety.
  • Vafa Jamali from Zimmer Biomet shared about their support of the Safety month.
  • Dr. Hey shared about the importance of spine surgery checklists, including a link to the downloadable checklists he’s created.
  • And finally, Dr. Elowitz explained the connections between communication, patient safety, and medical malpractice.

Several of these daily tip videos are taken from longer talks presented at past Safety in Spine Surgery Summits. Did you know we have a library of these talks that you can browse & watch for free? Visit the videos tab on our website, or start here with the 2020 Safety Summit videos.

We also had over 500 people register for the April 15 webinar Checklists & Guidelines Which Make Spine Surgery Safer, which featured 4 of our Award Winners for the Best New Methodologies and Techniques to Enhance Safety in Spine Surgery, as well as a “who’s who” of surgeon leaders representing spine safety efforts from leading societies including the SRS, AANS, and POSNA.

We want to thank this week’s contributors, as well as this week’s partner organizations: NewYork-Presbyterian, Medtronic, Zimmer Biomet, NeuroPoint Alliance, Hey Clinic, and CareGuard.

We want to hear from you, too! Post safety tips or questions on your own social media—tag us, and you might win a $100 gift card! Winners are drawn each week from all social media channels.

View all this week’s videos here.

Welcome to the Safety in Spine Surgery Month, Week 1! This week we reached over 2,000 unique visitors across our social media channels with the message of safety in spine surgery. We saw some excellent and diverse perspectives on what safety means to surgeons, industry, and our partners. Highlights included:

  • Dr. Vitale reminded us, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re probably in the wrong room,” in his video on Calling in the Reinforcements.
  • Dr. Yazici spoke about the safe management of complex neuromuscular deformities.
  • Dr. Lenke showed us the process of using 3D models to study anatomical landmarks prior to surgery and during surgery.
  • Dr. Sponseller talked us through the why & how of using an IVAC to reduce infection risk in neuromuscular patients following PSF.
  • David Bailey of OrthoPediatrics shared about their support of the Safety month.
  • Dr. Flynn talked about the impact dedicated spine teams have had – he calls them “the greatest safety measure that I’ve seen in my 25 year career”
  • And finally, Dr. Radcliff explained three ways the operative microscope affects safety in spine surgery.

We heard from followers on social media, too—Dr. Vitale commented about 3D Models—“Great way to ‘navigate’ before you get into the OR—much like an athlete visualizes performance prior to the event.” Dr. Sumeet Garg commented on what he’s found effective for improving safety—“Working with plastic surgeons on closure for cases to pelvis. Navigation speeds up placement of sacral and pelvic fixation and aids in maximizing screw diameter.”

We want to thank this week’s contributors, as well as this week’s partner organizations: The Scoliosis Research Society, The Setting Scoliosis Straight Foundation, OrthoPediatrics, and the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery.

We want to hear from you, too! Join us on social media with your own safety tips or questions. Tag us, and you might win a $100 gift card!

View all this week’s videos here.

The Safety in Spine Surgery Project (S3P) is pleased to announce the 10 winners of the Safety in Spine Surgery Month Call for Abstracts / Call for Projects. The winning submissions for Best New Methodologies and Techniques to Enhance Safety in Spine Surgery will present their work during two live webinars for Safety in Spine Surgery Month. The free webinars will be held on April 15 and April 29. Registration and further details are available at the link below.

April 15 Webinar

Checklists and Guidelines which Make Spine Surgery Safer
  • Spine Surgery Checklist: A Step towards Perfection through Protocols
    Jwalant Patel, MS, FASSI; Arvind Kulkarni, MS
  • Establishing a Standardized Protocol for Identifying Patients at High Risk for DVT/PE Following Spine Surgery
    Zeeshan Sardar, MD, MSc; Kristen Mitchell, PA; Rick Leung, PA; Derek Mazique, MD
  • Surgical Site Infection Following Neuromuscular Posterior Spinal Fusion Fell 72% After Adopting the 2013 Best Practice Guidelines
    Stephen R. Stephan, MD; Kenneth D. Illingworth, MD; Kavish Gupta, MD; Lindsay M. Andras, MD; David L. Skaggs, MD MMM
    Cedars-Sinai Medical Center & Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Learning from Air Travel: Utilizing a Checklist Prior to Closing (Landing) in Pediatric Spine Surgery
    Jessica H. Heyer, MD; Patrick J. Cahill, MD; John M. Flynn, MD; Jason B. Anari, MD
    Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
    @CHOPorthofellowship

April 29 Webinar

Leveraging the Team to Make Spine Surgery Safer
  • Reduction of Facial Pressure Injuries after Prone Positioning in Spine Surgery: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
    Mindy Stites, MSN, APRN; Brandon B. Carlson, MD MPH; Linda Brookman, RN; Jake Kessen, CRNA; David Pennington, CRNA; Jacob Birlingmair, MD; Kabir A. Torres, BA; Douglas C. Burton, MD
    University of Kansas Health System
  • Design and Implementation of an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Protocol in Elective Lumbar Spine Fusion by Posterior Approach: A Retrospective, Comparative Study
    Bhavuk Garg, MS, MRCS; Nishank Mehta, MS; Tungish Bansal; Shubhankar Shekhar; Puneet Khanna; Dalim Vaidya
    All India Institute of Medical Sciences
  • Comparison of Procedural Utilization Rates and Timeline to Care in Multidisciplinary versus Unidisciplinary Spine Clinic Models
    Joshua Benton, BA; Vijay Yanamadala, MD, MBA, MS; Brandon T. Weiss BS; Wenzhu B. Mowrey, PhD; Michael Longo, BA; Rafael De La Garza Ramos, MD; Yaroslav Gelfand, MD; Phillip Cezayirli, MD; Erida Castro-Rivas, MS; Mark Headlam, BS; Adaobi Udemba, NP; Lavinia Williams, RN; Merritt D. Kinon, MD; Andrew I. Gitkind, MD, MHA; Reza Yassari, MD, MS
  • Multidisciplinary Conference for Complex Surgery Leads to Improved Quality and Safety
    Zoe Norris, BFA; Michelle Zabat, BA; Hershil Patel, BS; Nicole Mottole, BS; Kimberly Ashayeri, MD; Eaman Balouch, MD PhD; Constance Maglaras, PhD; Themistocles Protopsaltis, MD; Aaron Buckland, MBBS FRACS; Charla Fischer, MD
    NYU Langone Health & NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital
  • Innovative Technology System to Prevent Wrong Site Surgery and Capture Near Misses: A Multi-center Review of 487 Cases
    David Gloystein, MD; John Devine, MD; Bradley Heiges, MD; David Schwartz, MD; Deborah Spratt, MPA BSN RN CNOR
  • The Effect of a Transdisciplinary Spine Conference on Quality and Safety for Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery
    Gregory Mundis Jr., MD; Fernando Rios, MD; Hani Malone, MD; Bahar Shahidi, PhD; Tina Iannacone, BSN; Shae Galli, BS; Robert Eastlack, MD

The Safety in Spine Surgery Project is pleased to announce the First Annual Safety in Spine Surgery month, taking place in April of 2021. The goal of this project is to improve safety in spine surgery by sharing guidelines, techniques, and protocols that make care better, and to share lessons learned from participants who have developed specific, successful safety protocols. This event will feature 2 live webinars and an industry-wide social media campaign throughout April.

Under the leadership of Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH and co-chairmen John Flynn, MD; Roger Härtl, MD; Larry Lenke, MD; Rajiv Sethi, MD, S3P is partnering with surgeons, allied health care providers, organizations, hospitals, and medical device companies in this effort. It is the belief of the program directors that all major healthcare stakeholders are obligated to invest their expertise and funds to enhance patient safety.

Submission of abstracts and projects summaries is underway for Best New Methodologies and Techniques to Enhance Safety in Spine Surgery. The 10 best submissions will each be awarded $1000 and be featured during one of the live webinars. We encourage our colleagues to submit not only scientific papers, but also any project that has made a difference in spine surgery quality, safety, or value. Submissions are due to Kate Laney by February 19, 2021.

Registration is open for two live webinars, taking place April 15 and April 29. The first will focus on predictive analytics, enabling technology, and innovative techniques to make the OR safer. The second will highlight checklists, guidelines, and tricks to avoid complications and improve neurological safety. Registration is free and can be accessed at this link.

We encourage you to get involved in this effort by submitting abstracts, attending the webinars, and getting active on social media during the month of April. Post your successes and difficulties with the hashtags #safetyinspinesurgery and #s3p. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram for further information.

If your practice, organization, or medical device company would like to partner with us, please contact Kate Laney.

We are looking forward to an exciting month of collaboration!

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