OBJECTIVE: To survey a large number of neurosurgical spine surgeons for data regarding the presence of risk factors in patients experiencing visual loss after spine surgery.
METHODS: A survey was sent to current members (as of 1997) of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, with questions focusing on intraoperative factors that may predispose patients to perioperative visual loss.
RESULTS: Two hundred ninety surveys were returned, and 24 patients with visual loss after spine surgery were reported by 22 surgeons. Although many of these patients had probable causative factors for visual loss after surgery (e.g., hypotension, low hematocrit level, coexisting disease), some did not (n = 8).
CONCLUSION: These results suggest the necessity of a high index of suspicion for evolving perioperative visual loss even in the absence of risk factors.