Acta Orthopaedica et Traumatologica Turcica
Research Article

Adequacy of spine surgery fellowship training in Turkey: Results of a survey


Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Başakşehir Çam and Sakura City Hospital, İstanbul, Turkey

AOTT 2022; 56: 71-75
DOI: 10.5152/j.aott.2022.21211
Read: 1035 Downloads: 275 Published: 11 February 2022

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the adequacy of spine surgery fellowship training (SSFT) in Turkey and what is needed for further development by interviewing current fellows.

Methods: Forty male orthopaedics and traumatology or neurosurgery specialists who had completed SSFT in three different spine centers in Turkey between 2010 and 2018 were asked to complete a survey with 29 questions about SSFT in Turkey. Thirty specialists responded, and the collected data were analyzed.

Results: Twenty-seven (90%) participants were orthopaedic and traumatology specialists and three (10%) were neurosurgery specialists, with a mean age of 39 (range = 35-53) years. Most participants received their residency training in the provinces where their fellowship training took place (11 (37%) in İstanbul and 7 (23%) in Ankara). The mean duration between residency training and the start of SSFT was 4 (range = 0-14) years, and the mean SSFT duration was 8 (range = 1-18) months. Seventy percent of participants had participated in spine surgery cases during their residency. Twenty-three (77%) participants reported that spine surgery training in their hospital during their residency was inadequate. Seventeen (57%) participants felt that they could not independently perform spine surgery cases before SSFT. All three centers (100%) participating in the study that offered SSFT were non-public institutions such as private hospitals and private university hospitals of medicine managed by a dedicated mentor with personal commitment, without any accreditation for SSFT. While 25 (83%) participants indicated that they felt competent enough to perform a standard spinal deformity surgery case independently at the end of SSFT, 5 (17%) indicated the opposite. This proportion, which was 43% at the end of residency, increased to 83% after SSFT.

Conclusion: The results of this study have demonstrated the importance of SSFT in spine surgery as a specialty with a potentially high risk of complications that require prolonged case observation, challenging work-up, and adequate equipment. In this regard, there is a need for regulations on accreditation in government health facilities that provide ideal conditions. We propose to offer SSFT to all surgeons interested in spine surgery in Turkey by conducting further studies supported by an optimal health sector that ensures the appropriate requirements, in accordance with the declaration of TOTEK (The Turkish Orthopaedics and Traumatology Education Council), training workshops, and an accredited master’s degree program in spine surgery or subspecialty.

Cite this article as: Abul K. Adequacy of spine surgery fellowship training in Turkey: Results of a survey. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc 2022; 56(1):72–76.

ISSN 1017-995X EISSN 2589-1294