Welcome to volume 16, issue 2 of HSS Journal®. This special issue addresses recent advances in the science and clinical practice of spinal fusion. The incidence of surgical treatment of spinal disorders has been rising over the past decade, and although the increase in spinal procedures performed in ambulatory centers has made it difficult to document the exact incidence, it is estimated that nearly 500,000 spinal fusion procedures were performed in the USA in 2011, more than twice the number performed in 1998. In addition, despite a rise in the average age of patients undergoing these procedures, the length of hospital stay has shortened since 1998 (although the associated costs have risen dramatically, due mostly to orthobiologics and instrumentation).
I refer anyone interested in these and other statistics to a report titled “The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States,” produced by the US Bone and Joint Initiative, which is available online as an open access publication (http://www.boneandjointburden.org; the most recent statistics on spinal fusion are at https://www.boneandjointburden.org/fourth-edition/iiad0/spine-procedures).
The improved clinical results associated with spinal fusion over the years are most likely related to scientific developments and improvements in surgical practice. This issue is dedicated to reviewing these advances.
I thank Sheeraz Qureshi, MD, MBA, and Sohrab Virk MD, MBA, who have served as guest editors, for their work in compiling a series of review articles written by recognized experts that address a wide range of contemporary topics in spinal fusion. The presentation has relevance to our entire readership. I am confident this issue will bring you up to date on the remarkable innovations achieved within this surgical discipline in the recent and more distant past.
Conflict of Interest
Charles N. Cornell, MD, reports personal fees from Exactech, Inc., outside the submitted work.
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Cornell, C.N. The Advances in the Science and Clinical Practice of Spinal Fusion Are Real. HSS Jrnl 16, 105 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11420-020-09756-6