The Role of Potentially Modifiable Factors in a Standard Work Protocol to Decrease Complications in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery: A Systematic Review, Part 1.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Spine Deform


Adult; Humans; Orthopedic Procedures; Postoperative Complications; Risk Factors; Spinal Curvatures


STUDY DESIGN: Structured Literature Review.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to evaluate the peer-reviewed literature for potentially modifiable patient and surgical factors that could be incorporated into a Standard Work protocol to decrease complications in adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Lean Methodology uses Standard Work to improve efficiency and decrease waste and error. ASD is known to have a high surgical complication rate. Several patient and surgical potentially modifiable factors have been suggested to affect complications, including preoperative hemoglobin, bone density, body mass index (BMI), age-appropriate realignment, preoperative albumin/prealbumin, and smoking status. We sought to evaluate the literature for evidence supporting these factors to include in a Standard Work protocol to decrease complications.

METHODS: Each of these six factors was developed into an appropriate clinical question that included the patient population, surgical intervention, a comparison group, and outcomes measure (PICO question). A comprehensive literature search was then performed. The authors reviewed abstracts and analyzed data from included studies. From 456 initial citations with abstract, 173 articles underwent full-text review. The best available evidence for clinical questions regarding the influence of these factors was provided by 93 included studies.

RESULTS: We found fair evidence supporting a low preoperative hemoglobin level associated with increased transfusion rates and decreased BMD and increased BMI associated with increased complication rates. Fair evidence supported low albumin/prealbumin associated with increased complications. There was fair evidence associating smoking exposure to increased reoperations, but conflicting evidence associating it with increased complications. There was no evidence in the literature evaluating age-appropriate realignment and complications.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative hemoglobin, bone density, body mass index, preoperative albumin/prealbumin, and smoking status all are potentially modifiable risk factors that are associated with increased complications in the adult spine surgery population. Developing a Standard Work Protocol for patient evaluation and optimization should include these factors.


Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine