Two-Surgeon Multidisciplinary Approach to Pediatric Cervical Spinal Fusion: A Single-Institution Series and Review of the Literature

Benjamin T. Lynch, Blake K. Montgomery, Bram P. Verhofste, Mark R. Proctor, Daniel J. Hedequist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: A collaborative 2-surgeon approach is becoming increasingly popular in surgery but is not widely used for pediatric cervical spine fusions. The goal of this study is to present a large single-institution experience with pediatric cervical spinal fusion using a multidisciplinary 2-surgeon team, including a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon. This team-based approach has not been previously reported in the pediatric cervical spine literature. Methods: A single-institution review of pediatric cervical spine instrumentation and fusion performed by a surgical team composed of neurosurgery and orthopedics during 2002-2020 was performed. Demographics, presenting symptoms and indications, surgical characteristics, and outcomes were recorded. Particular focus was given to describe the primary surgical responsibility of the orthopedic surgeon and the neurosurgeon. Results: A total of 112 patients (54% male) with an average age of 12.1 (range 2-26) years met the inclusion criteria. The most common indications for surgery were os odontoideum with instability (n=21) and trauma (n=18). Syndromes were present in 44 (39%) cases. Fifty-five (49%) patients presented with preoperative neurological deficits (26 motor, 12 sensory, and 17 combined deficits). At the time of the last clinical follow-up, 44 (80%) of these patients had stabilization or resolution of their neurological deficit. There was 1 new postoperative neural deficit (1%). The average time between surgery and successful radiologic arthrodesis was 13.2±10.6 mo. A total of 15 (13%) patients experienced complications within 90 days of surgery (2 intraoperative, 6 during admission, and 7 after discharge). Conclusions: A multidisciplinary 2-surgeon approach to pediatric cervical spine instrumentation and fusion provides a safe treatment option for complex pediatric cervical cases. It is hoped that this study could provide a model for other pediatric spine groups interested in implementing a multi-specialty 2-surgeon team to perform complex pediatric cervical spine fusions. Level of Evidence: Level IV-case series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023


  • approach
  • cervical spine
  • cervical spine fusion
  • dual-surgeon
  • pediatric
  • two-surgeon


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