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Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS): Reliability Among Spine Fellows and Resident Physicians in Orthopedic Surgery and Neurosurgery.

Global Spine Journal 2017 December
STUDY DESIGN: Reliability analysis.

OBJECTIVES: The Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS) was developed for assessing patients with spinal neoplasia. It identifies patients who may benefit from surgical consultation or intervention. It also acts as a prognostic tool for surgical decision making. Reliability of SINS has been established for spine surgeons, radiologists, and radiation oncologists, but not yet among spine surgery trainees. The purpose of our study is to determine the reliability of SINS among spine residents and fellows, and its role as an educational tool.

METHODS: Twenty-three residents and 2 spine fellows independently scored 30 de-identified spine tumor cases on 2 occasions, at least 6 weeks apart. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) measured interobserver and intraobserver agreement for total SINS scores. Fleiss's kappa and Cohen's kappa analysis evaluated interobserver and intraobserver agreement of 6 component subscores (location, pain, bone lesion quality, spinal alignment, vertebral body collapse, and posterolateral involvement of spinal elements).

RESULTS: Total SINS scores showed near perfect interobserver (0.990) and intraobserver (0.907) agreement. Fleiss's kappa statistics revealed near perfect agreement for location; substantial for pain; moderate for alignment, vertebral body collapse, and posterolateral involvement; and fair for bone quality (0.948, 0.739, 0.427, 0.550, 0.435, and 0.382). Cohen's kappa statistics revealed near perfect agreement for location and pain, substantial for alignment and vertebral body collapse, and moderate for bone quality and posterolateral involvement (0.954, 0.814, 0.610, 0.671, 0.576, and 0.561, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The SINS is a reliable and valuable educational tool for spine fellows and residents learning to judge spinal instability.

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