The 'nightmare' of wrong level in spine surgery: a critical appraisal
1 Dept of Neurosurgery, Hospital IGEA, Via Marcona 69, Milan, 20129, Italy
2 Headache Center, Neurological Institute “C. Besta” IRCCS Foundation, Milan, Italy
Patient Safety in Surgery 2012, 6:14 doi:10.1186/1754-9493-6-14Published: 19 June 2012
The recent article published in the Journal by Lindley and colleagues (Patient Saf. Surg. 2011, 5:33) reported the successful surgical treatment of a persistent thoracic pain following a T7-8 microdiscectomy, truly performed at the ‘level immediately above’. The wrong level in spine surgery is a multi-factorial matter and several strategies have been designed and adopted to try decreasing its occurrence. We think that three of these factors are crucial: global strategy, attention, precision in level identification; and the actors we identified are the surgeon, the assistant nurse and the (neuro)radiologist respectively. Basing upon our experience, the role of the radiologist pre- and intraoperatively and the importance of the assistant nurse are briefly described.