Dr. Kern Singh’s Research Team Receives Best Overall Paper Award at 2021 SMISS Conference

November 2, 2021

At the recent 2021 Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS) conference in Las Vegas, Dr. Kern Singh and his Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush research team received the Best Overall Paper Award for its study, “Single Level MIS TLIF vs ALIF at L5/S1: A Comparison of Patient-Reported Outcomes and Recovery Ratios.” The Singh team presented 12 additional papers.

The award-winning study evaluated the surgical outcomes from Dr. Singh’s operative cases and focused on how the individual patient experience can be constantly improved.

Dr. Singh’s practice focuses on tissue-sparing and minimally invasive approaches to traditional spine procedures, many of which are now routinely carried out in the outpatient setting. The transforaminal approach to lumbar fusions (TLIF) is routinely conducted in a minimally invasive (MIS) and outpatient setting in Dr. Singh’s practice, while the anterior fusion approach (ALIF) remains as an inpatient surgery that is carried out via a mini-open procedure.

"Our research continues to help define and progress the field of Minimally invasive spine surgery. This study helps surgeons educate patients on expectations following an anterior versus posterior approach for L5-S1. As always, an educated patient is always one that has improved postoperative outcomes" said Dr. Kern Singh.

Given that both MIS TLIF and ALIF are both commonly utilized for fusion at vertebral level L5-S1, Dr. Singh’s study aimed to retrospectively compare the postoperative patient-reported outcomes and rate of recovery between these two surgeries with the goal of providing a granular level-specific analysis. The research team observed 406 patients, 346 of whom were in the MIS TLIF cohort and 59 in the ALIF cohort. Although the team observed significantly greater operative times and blood loss in the ALIF cohort, that same cohort demonstrated reduced postoperative narcotic consumption and improved early/mid-term postoperative physical function, back pain, and disability as compared to patients in the MIS TLIF cohort.

Dr. Singh’s research team includes dedicated medical student research coordinators who are interested in the field of orthopedic surgery and research assistants currently applying to medical school.