The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Spine Surgeons Worldwide: A One Year Prospective Comparative Study

Juan N. Barajas, Alexander L. Hornung, Timothy Kuzel, Gary M. Mallow, Grant J. Park, Samuel S. Rudisill, Philip K. Louie, Garrett K. Harada, Michael H. McCarthy, Niccole Germscheid, Jason P.Y. Cheung, Marko H. Neva, Mohammad El-Sharkawi, Marcelo Valacco, Daniel M. Sciubba, Norman B. Chutkan, Howard S. An, Dino Samartzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design: Survey Objective: In March of 2020, an original study by Louie et al investigated the impact of COVID-19 on 902 spine surgeons internationally. Since then, due to varying government responses and public health initiatives to the pandemic, individual countries and regions of the world have been affected differently. Therefore, this follow-up study aimed to assess how the COVID-19 impact on spine surgeons has changed 1 year later. Methods: A repeat, multi-dimensional, 90-item survey written in English was distributed to spine surgeons worldwide via email to the AO Spine membership who agreed to receive surveys. Questions were categorized into the following domains: demographics, COVID-19 observations, preparedness, personal impact, patient care, and future perceptions. Results: Basic respondent demographics, such as gender, age, home demographics, medical comorbidities, practice type, and years since training completion, were similar to those of the original 2020 survey. Significant differences between groups included reasons for COVID testing, opinions of media coverage, hospital unemployment, likelihood to be performing elective surgery, percentage of cases cancelled, percentage of personal income, sick leave, personal time allocation, stress coping mechanisms, and the belief that future guidelines were needed (P<.05). Conclusion: Compared to baseline results collected at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, significant differences in various domains related to COVID-19 perceptions, hospital preparedness, practice impact, personal impact, and future perceptions have developed. Follow-up assessment of spine surgeons has further indicated that telemedicine and virtual education are mainstays. Such findings may help to inform and manage expectations and responses to any future outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-969
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal Spine Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • coronavirus
  • global
  • impact
  • spine surgeons
  • worldwide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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