Effect of the degree of reverse Trendelenburg position on intraocular pressure during prone spine surgery: A randomized controlled trial

Timothy W. Carey, K. Aaron Shaw, Marissa L. Weber, John Glenden DeVine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background context Postoperative vision loss complicates an estimated 1 in 1,100 prone spine surgical cases. This complication has been attributed to ischemic optic neuropathy, with one proposed reason being perioperative elevations in intraocular pressure (IOP). Previous research has studied the effects of table inclination on IOP in awake volunteers; however, the effects in spine surgery patients have not been investigated for reverse Trendelenburg positioning using a prospective, randomized controlled study design. Purpose To assess the effect of table inclination on IOP in patients undergoing prone spine surgery. Study design Single-center, prospective randomized controlled study. Patient sample Nineteen patients with no history of eye pathology, undergoing prone spine surgery at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, were randomly assigned to a table position: neutral, 5°, or 10° of reverse Trendelenburg. Outcome measures Intraocular pressure, mean arterial pressure (MAP), estimated blood loss, fluid resuscitation, and ophthalmologic complication were assessed before and after induction and at incremental times during surgery, beginning at 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and 60-minute increments thereafter. Methods Multivariate analyses evaluated surgical time, IOP, MAP, estimated blood loss, and fluid resuscitation as a function of table inclination to determine the effect of patient positioning on identified risk factors for postoperative vision loss. Results Surgical times ranged from 33 to 325 minutes. A rapid increase in IOP was noted after prone positioning, with continued increases as time elapsed. The neutral group exhibited statistically higher IOP compared with the 5° reverse Trendelenburg group after 60 minutes and the 10° group through 60 minutes of surgery. The trend continued through 120 minutes; however, because of a lack of power, we were unable to determine the statistical significance. There were no statistically significant differences between the 5° and 10° reverse Trendelenburg groups. Conclusions Reverse Trendelenburg positioning elicits decreased IOP compared with prone positioning for surgery times less than 120 minutes. Ten degrees of reverse Trendelenburg attenuate the rise in IOP during prone spine surgery superiorly in comparison with 5°. No significant complications were associated with reverse Trendelenburg positioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2118-2126
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Intraocular pressure
  • Postoperative vision loss
  • Prone
  • Reverse Trendelenburg
  • Spine
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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