The Journal of Spinal Disorders was first published in January 1988 with Dan Spengler and Tom Ducker as editors. Their goal in starting a new journal was to create a forum for scientific and clinical advances made by both orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons and to improve communications between the two groups. They succeeded marvelously. Their energetic leadership has helped bridge the differences between orthopedic and neurosurgical spinal therapeutic approaches. Today at national and international meetings, surgeons are referred to simply as spine surgeons; no hereditary prefix is necessary. This spirit of cooperation between neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons has produced an environment that is more conducive to scientific and clinical innovations. Certainly, this is not due entirely to the efforts of Drs. Spengler and Ducker. However, their willingness to co-edit the Journal of Spinal Disorders, and include surgeons from all backgrounds in their clinical discussions, has been helpful in bridging the differences. I thank them both for their strong leadership.
Today, the practitioner treating patients with spinal problems has an immense variety of therapeutic choices. It has become increasingly difficult for spine surgeons to keep pace with all of the specific techniques that are available. Furthermore, there is no one forum available for the spine surgeon to keep up to date on the new techniques. After discussions with the orthopedic and neurosurgery communities, as well as Dr. Ducker and the publisher, we have decided to change the focus of the journal to surgery and techniques. To signal this new direction we are changing the name of the journal to Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques. We are also entering a new partnership with Spine. Our goal is to develop the journal to serve as a surgically focused complement to Spine, which will continue to function as a broad-based scientific journal fulfilling the needs of both the scientists and clinicians who deal with the spine.
The new focus on techniques and procedures performed by spinal surgeons and those practitioners treating spinal disorders fits in well with my own professional experience. My entire career has been spent developing and refining procedures for spine patients. My intention is to provide a forum for up-to-date techniques, which will be described in detail, their results reported, and critical reviews provided. This will be done in several ways: I strongly encourage those of you with original articles pertaining to spinal techniques and their results to publish them in the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques. Our aim will be to publish Class II or better clinical articles, and require 1-year clinical follow-up. However, we will occasionally accept cutting edge articles with less than 1-year follow-up. In addition, focus issues, which highlight a single new technique, will be published periodically. These will include a clinical case discussion, original articles pertinent to the technique, and one or two summary articles, which have been invited for inclusion.
In succeeding Dr. Tom Ducker as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Spinal Disorders, I wish to recognize him for his hard work, vision, and leadership in establishing the Journal of Spinal Disorders and shepherding it through its first 14 years. He is certainly a tough act to follow. My goal as Editor-in-Chief is to sharpen the focus of the journal. By highlighting procedures and techniques used in spinal surgery, I hope to draw from the best in the orthopedic, neurosurgical, radiologic, and rehabilitation medicine specialties. In doing so, the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques will be an excellent resource for those striving to keep up with the fast pace of progress in the treatment of spinal patients.