June 18, 2024

Safety Summit Recap 2024

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 following topics were explored at the Safety Summit:

  • 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, discussions included the whole care team for 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

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.
Safety-Summit-2024-Michael Vitale, MD
Safety in Spine Surgery Summit 2024 - Michael Vitale MD

Summary of the Safety in Spine Surgery Summit's Program

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 program.

S3P’s Misson—The mission of the Safety in Spine Surgery Project (S3P) is to identify ways to enhance the safety and sustainability of spine surgery and work with stakeholders in spine surgery, including but not limited to patients, providers, payers, and purchasers, to prevent harm.

More About S3P—The Safety in Spine Surgery Project

In February 2016, the 1st Annual Safety in Spine Surgery Summit was held in New York City. The response was overwhelming:

  • More than 200 registrants attended from across the US, while 50 more remained on a waiting list.
  • 10 leading medical associations, hospital networks, and research groups endorsed the Summit.
  • 8 medical device companies chose to support the Summit, viewing the topic as vitally important.
  • Numerous requests were received to repeat the meeting in 2017.
  • These factors spoke clearly that throughout the field there is a desire to ensure that spinal surgeries are safe and life transforming.


Spine Surgery is a necessary, beneficial, and cost-effective intervention. However, every year an estimated 60,000 patients are harmed in the course of Spine Surgery. The S3P vision is to reduce the number of patients harmed during and after spine surgery by 50%, from 60,000 to 30,000 by 2023. Preventing harm would generate up to $1 billion in savings to society.

S3P plans on doing this by the following initiatives:

  1. Improving Quality and Reliability
  2. Preventing unnecessary utilization: Reducing the total number of spine surgeries and avoidable readmissions can prevent overall harm from surgery-related complications and reduce low-value care
  3. Advocating for adoption of best practices in spine surgery with stakeholders
Safety Summit 2024

For more info, videos, and Best Practice Guidelines, Visit the S3P Site