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SA Orthopaedic Journal

versão On-line ISSN 2309-8309
versão impressa ISSN 1681-150X

SA orthop. j. vol.8 no.3 Centurion Jan. 2009




Optimising safety in the spine theatre



RN DunnI; MJ JacobsohnII

IMBChB(UCT), MMed(Orth), FCS(SA)Orth; Consultant Spine and Orthopaedic Surgeon, Head Spine Services: Groote Schuur Hospital, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Cape Town
IIMBCHB, FCS(Neuro)SA; AOSpine Fellow, Spine Surgery Unit, Groote Schuur Hospital, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Cape Town





With the proliferation of spinal surgery, both in numbers of cases annually and variety of surgery, there has been an increase in complications and associated litigation. Fager reports that up to 40% of cases were non-defensible.
A review of the published literature was performed to highlight some of the more common aspects in an effort to highlight them to the spine surgeon in an attempt to reduce their incidence and optimise safety in theatre.
The following issues are discussed:
Wrong level surgery

  • Patient positioning
  • Infection risk and rituals
  • Neurophysiological monitoring
  • Neuronavigation.



“Full text available only in PDF format”




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Dr RN Dunn
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Groote Schuur Hospital
Tel: (021) 404-5387; Fax: 086 6715 294



No benefits of any form have been received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

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