The 9th Annual Safety in Spine Surgery Summit was held on May 31, 2024. Michael G. Vitale, MD, MPH, was Course Chairman. The Course Co-Chairs were Lawrence G. Lenke, MD, and Rajiv K. Sethi, MD, while the Program Directors were Philip Louie, MD, and A. Noelle Larson, MD.

The Summit's Keynote Speaker—author, researcher, and consultant Nick Petrie—presented “Stress, Pressure, & Resilience in the Spine Surgeon.” He specializes in leadership development for senior executives and helping organizations build a healthy, high-performance culture. Co-Author of Work Without Stress, Nick believes that performance and excellence do not have to be synonymous with burnout. Born and raised in New Zealand, he has significant international experience living and working in Japan, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, and Dubai. Past clients include Google, NASA, Walmart, Deloitte, Red Bull, Kellogg’s, Workday, Qantas and Comcast.

Throughout the day at the Safety Summit, the following topics were explored:

  • Errors Unique to Robotics: How to Recognize & How to Avoid
  • Maximizing Patient Safety with Enabling Technology
  • Avoiding Complications with New Techniques
  • Panel: Recovering from Post-Operative Neurologic Deficit and Other Major Complications as a Surgeon

Plus, the whole care team was addressed in talks about:

  • Building and Maintaining an Expert OR Staff
  • Collaborating with the Next Generation

“The humble transparency… from our top spine experts made this the best course I have ever attended.” —Past Attendee

Meeting Summary

Dr. Michale Vitale, Chairman, Safety in Spine Surgery Summit

Fri., May 31, 2024, the opening, welcome speech was given by Michael Vitale, MD MPH. This was followed by nine sessions of safety-focused content.

  • Some of the featured talks included:
    • Actually, We Have Made a Lot of Strides in Patient Safety in Spine Surgery —L. Lenke
    • Do Digital Intraoperative Technologies Have Potential to Improve Care? —R. Härtl
    • Dealing with Patient Complications as a Young Surgeon —P. Louie
    • Surgeon Well Being to Maximize Patient Safety —T. Albert
    • Creating a Data-rich Environment to Support Value Based Healthcare —R. Sethi
  • Highlighted papers included the following:
    • Best Paper 1: Does a Delay of Surgery Due to a Multidisciplinary Screening Process Result in Neuromuscular Scoliosis Curve Progression in Complex Cerebral Palsy? —Brian Smith
    • Best Paper 2: Comparison of Robotic, CT-Navigated, and Freehand Approaches of Screw Fixation in Correction of Deformity: How Have Outcomes Improved? —Samuel Ezeonu
    • Best Paper 3: Does Pedicle Morphology Affect the Safety and Accuracy of Pedicle Screw Placement Using 3D Printed Guides? A 5-year Single Center Experience with 2,210 Screws Placed for Adult Spinal Deformity Reconstruction —Venu Nemani
    • Rapid Fire Paper 4: Long Term Feasibility Study: Opiate Reduction Protocol for Common Outpatient Spine Procedures—A Single-Center Experience —Nicholas Eley
  • For the full list of talks and papers, see the meeting's scientific program.

Course Objectives

At the completion of the program, participants should be able to:

  1. Discuss best practices for improving safety when using robotics and enabling technologies in spine surgery.
  2. Describe how the development of specific talent, culture and team characteristics can enhance safety in spine surgery.
  3. Discuss methods to optimize surgeon performance in the OR and beyond.