Highly cited works in spinal disorders: The top 100 most cited papers published in spine journals

Jetan H. Badhiwala, Farshad Nassiri, Christopher D. Witiw, Alireza Mansouri, Naif Alotaibi, Matthew Eagles, Saleh A. Almenawer, Leodante Da Costa, Jefferson R. Wilson, Michael G. Fehlings

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Study Design: Bibliometric analysis. Objective: To identify, and summarize the key findings of, the top 100 most highly cited works published in spinal disorder topic-specific journals. Summary of Background Data: There is an abundance of published articles pertaining to spine surgery and spinal disorders. The number of citations a work receives provides a useful measure of its scientific impact. An understanding of the most cited works in spine surgery can identify literature that surgeons and researchers should be familiar with, point to the most active areas of research, inform the design of educational curricula, and help guide future research efforts. Methods: Journals relating to spinal disorders were identified using the Journal Citation Reports database. We then searched the Web of Science database for articles appearing in each of these journals. The top 100 most cited works were selected for analysis. Results: The top 100 most cited articles appeared in seven of eight journals dedicated to spinal disorders, with 84 in Spine and seven in the European Spine Journal. The citation count for individual articles ranged from 343 to 1949. Most works (73) were published between 1990 and 2004. The greatest number of articles (22) focused on low back pain, followed by biomechanics (13), degenerative disc disease (12), and lumbar spinal stenosis/lumbar fusion (9). With regard to study design, laboratory investigations were the most common (12), followed by guideline documents (11), reviews (10), and retrospective cohort studies (10). Conclusion: The most cited works in spinal disorder journals are guidelines for low back pain, descriptions of quality of life (QOL) metrics, or laboratory investigations into spinal biome-chanics. A gap exists for work relating to neck pain or cervical spinal pathology (e.g., cervical myelopathy), representing opportunity for future work. Time of publication, topic of study, study design, and journal are possible determinants of likelihood of citation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1746-1755
Number of pages10
Issue number24
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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