Guide for Authors

  • All journal information and instructions compiled in one document (PDF) in just one mouse-click Author information pack

    Introduction
    • Article Types
    • Online Manuscript Submission & Tracking
    • Ethics in publishing
    • Use of Animals in Biomed Research
    • Financial and FDA Disclosure
    • Submission declaration and verification
    • Authorship
    • Changes to authorship
    • Copyright
    • Financial Disclosure
    • Funding body agreements and policies
    • Open access
    • Language (usage and editing services)
    • Submission
    • General Manuscript Formatting
    • Use of word processing software
    • Article Structure
    • Essential title page information
    • Abstract
    • Keywords
    • Abbreviations
    • Acknowledgements
    • Units
    • Math formulae
    • Footnotes
    • Artwork
    • Illustration services
    • Tables
    • References
    • Video data
    • Supplementary data
    • Submission checklist
    • Corresponding Author
    • After Acceptance
    • Use of the Digital Object Identifier
    • Online proof correction



    The Spine Journal, the official journal of the North American Spine Society, is an international and multidisciplinary journal that publishes original, peer-reviewed articles on research and treatment related to the spine and high-quality, ethical, evidenc-ebased spine care, including basic science and clinical investigations. The Spine Journal (TSJ) also publishes major reviews of specific topics, technical notes, editorials and special features.

    TSJ publishes full-length articles (in the form of Clinical Studies and Basic Science papers), Technical Reports, Review Articles, Case Reports, Letters to the Editor and a number of other special features.

    All submissions are accepted with the understanding that they have not been, and will not be, published elsewhere substantially in any format. Also, there should be no ethical concerns with the content or data collection. TSJ reserves the right to request any research materials on which the paper is based.

    Article Types

    Clinical Studies (See sub-categories below)
    Clinical studies are previously unpublished manuscripts that include clinical investigations, clinical observations and clinically relevant trials. Abstracts for Clinical Studies are required to have all eight (8) structured subheadings: background context, purpose, design, patient sample, outcome measures, methods, results and conclusions.

    TSJ has adopted guidelines designed to improve the reporting of clinical studies. By following these guidelines, many of which include checklists and flow charts, authors ensure that readers can assess the validity of their findings. Submissions to TSJ must adhere to the guideline that applies to their study, as specified below.

    Clinical studies should be between 1500 and 4500 words (approx. 6 to 12 double-spaced pages).

    1. Controlled Trials

    a) Randomized controlled trials (RCTs): Complete CONSORT checklist and include flow diagram in article.

    Schulz KF, Altman DG, Moher D, for the CONSORT Group. CONSORT 2010 Statement: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trials. Ann Int Med 2010;152 (11):726-32. PMID: 20335313.

    Moher D, Hopewell S, Schulz KF, Montori V, Gtzsche PC, Devereaux PJ, Elbourne D, Egger M, Altman DG, for the CONSORT Group. CONSORT 2010 Explanation and Elaboration: updated guidelines for reporting parallel group randomised trial. BMJ 2010;340:c869. PMID: 20332511.

    Ioannidis JPA, Evans SJW, Gotzsche PC, O'Neill RT, Altman DG, Schulz K, Moher D, for the CONSORT Group*. Better Reporting of Harms in Randomized Trials: An Extension of the CONSORT Statement. Ann Intern Med 2004; 141(10):781-788. PMID: 15545678.

    Website: http://www.consort-statement.org/

    CONSORT extensions may apply to specific study types:

    i. Non-inferiority and Equivalence RCTs:
    Piaggio G, Elbourne DR, Altman DG, Pocock SJ, Evans SJW, for the CONSORT Group. Reporting of Noninferiority and Equivalence Randomized Trials: An Extension of the CONSORT Statement. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2006; 295(10):1152-1160. PMID: 16522836.

    ii. Cluster RCTs:
    Campbell MK, Elbourne DR, Altman DG. CONSORT statement: extension to cluster randomised trials. BMJ 2004; 328(7441):702-708. PMID: 15031246.

    iii. Non-pharmacological treatment interventions:
    Boutron I, Moher D, Altman DG, Schulz K, Ravaud P, for the CONSORT group. Methods and Processes of the CONSORT Group: Example of an Extension for Trials Assessing Nonpharmacologic Treatments. Ann Intern Med. 2008:W60-W67. PMID: 18283201; Boutron I, Moher D, Altman DG, Schulz KF, Ravaud P. Extending the CONSORT statement to randomized trials of nonpharmacologic treatment: explanation and elaboration. Ann Intern Med 2008 Feb 19;148(4):295-309. PMID: 18283207.

    iv. Health-Related Quality of Life Studies:
    Calvert M, Blazeby J, Recicki D, Moher D, Brundage M. Reporting quality of life in clinical trials: a CONSORT extension. The Lancet 2011;378(9804):1684-1685.

    v. RCTs with Patient-Reported Outcomes:
    Calvert M, Blazeby J, Altman DG, Revicki DA, Moher D, Brundage MD, for the CONSORT PRO Group. Reporting of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Randomized Trials: The CONSORT PRO Extension. JAMA 2013;309(8):814-822. doi: 10.1001/jama2013.879.

    b) Non-randomized controlled trials: Complete TREND checklist and include flow diagram in article.

    Des Jarlais DC, Lyles C, Crepaz N, and the TREND Group. Improving the reporting quality of nonrandomized evaluations of behavioral and public health interventions: The TREND statement. Am J Public Health. 2004;94:361-366.

    Website: http://www.cdc.gov/trendstatement/



    A controlled trial is defined by the ICMJE as any research project that prospectively assigns human subjects to intervention and comparison groups to study the cause-and-effect relationship between a medical intervention and a health outcome. A controlled trial, whether randomized or not, must be registered in a public registry meeting ICMJE requirements prior to submission to TSJ.

    2. Observational Studies

    Cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies: Complete the STROBE checklist and include flow diagram (if applicable) in article.

    von Elm E, Altman DG, Egger M, Pocock SJ, Gotzsche PC, Vandenbroucke JP. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies. Ann Intern Med 2007; 147(8):573-577. PMID: 17938396.

    Website: http://www.strobe-statement.org/

    3. Diagnostic Test Studies

    Complete STARD checklist and include flow diagram in article.

    Bossuyt PM, Reitsma JB, Bruns DE, Gatsonis CA, Glasziou PP, Irwig LM, Lijmer JG, Moher D, Rennie D, de Vet HC. Towards complete and accurate reporting of studies of diagnostic accuracy: the STARD initiative. Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy. BMJ 2003; 326(7379):41-4. PMID: 12511463.

    Bossuyt PM, Reitsma JB, Bruns DE, Gatsonis CA, Glasziou PP, Irwig LM, et al. The STARD statement for reporting studies of diagnostic accuracy: explanation and elaboration. Ann Intern Med 2003; 138(1):W1-12. PMID: 12513067.

    Website: http://www.stard-statement.org/

    4. Reliability and agreement Studies

    Authors should read the following report and include the recommended elements in the article.

    Kottner J, Audigé L, Brorson S, Donner A, Gajeweski BJ, Hróbjartsson A, Robersts C, Shoukri M, Streiner DL. Guidelines for reporting reliability and agreement studies (GRRAS) were proposed. J of Clin Epid 2011; 64(1):96-106 PMID: 21130355.

    5. Cost-Effectiveness Studies

    Authors should read the following report and include the recommended elements in the article.

    Ramsey S, Willke R, Briggs A, Brown R, Buxton M, Chawla A, Cook J, Glick H, Liljas B, Petitti D, Reed S. Good research practices for cost-effectiveness analysis alongside clinical trials: the ISPOR RCT-CEA Task Force report. Value Health. 2005 Sep-Oct;8(5):521-33. Review. PubMed PMID: 16176491.

    6. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses

    a) Reviews of RCTs: Complete PRISMA checklist and include flow diagram in article.

    Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, The PRISMA Group. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses: The PRISMA Statement. BMJ 2009; 339:b2535. PMID: 19622551.

    Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, Mulrow C, Gtzsche PC, et al. The PRISMA Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration. BMJ 2009; 339:b2700. PMID: 19622552.

    Website: http://www.prisma-statement.org/index.htm

    b) Reviews of observational studies:

    Stroup DF, Berlin JA, Morton SC, Olkin I, Williamson GD, Rennie D, Moher D, Becker BJ, Sipe TA, Thacker SB. Meta-analysis of observational studies in epidemiology: a proposal for reporting. Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) group. JAMA 2000; 283(15):2008-2012. PMID: 10789670.

    7. Uncontrolled Case Series

    Authors should read the following report and include the recommended elements in the article.

    Kempen JH. Appropriate use and reporting of uncontrolled case series in the medical literature. Am J Ophthalmol. 2011;151(1):7-10.e1. PMID: 21163373.



    All clinical studies published in The Spine Journal will include a text box, compiled by the Journal editors, that provides an evidence-based critique of the study. The one-column breakout box is meant to facilitate inquiry and spark discussion on the most important topics of a given paper.

    Basic Science Papers

    Basic science papers are previously unpublished manuscripts that include laboratory work in areas ranging from basic lab work, cadaver studies, cellular mechanisms, molecular biology, growth factor work, preclinical animal studies and novel imaging (as related to the basic sciences rather than clinical imaging). Structured abstract is required.

    Technical Reports

    The manuscript should deal with newer material of interest. The text length may vary from 10-25 double-spaced pages and should include a minimum of 15 references. Ample illustrations (radiographs, photographs and original art) should be used to clearly show the devices/ equipment, technique and pictorial evidence. Structured Abstract is required.

    Review Articles

    The manuscript should cover an established but controversial area of multidisciplinary spine care with the goal of updating and consolidating knowledge and the conceptual framework. It should include a minimum of 50 references with 20-30 pages of doublespaced text, 3-5 explanatory tables, and appropriate artwork. A structured abstract is required.

    Case Reports

    Case reports are published online only. The table of contents page in each issue will list those case reports that will be available in that issue's online version at www.thespinejournalonline.com. The manuscript should report on a specific case or series of related cases of interest, with limited references to the literature. Text length should be relatively brief (8-10 double-spaced pages.) Illustrations (radiographs, photographs) should be included. A structured Abstract is required.

    Special Features

    Authors are encouraged to submit material for publication in any of the following special features sections of The Spine Journal. All should follow the general format of instructions to authors provided above.

    Letters to the Editor (correspondence) - These are strongly encouraged to foster open dialogue between our readers, authors and editors. These should be addressed "To the Editor" and submitted with the understanding that the material may be shortened or otherwise edited. Letters should be kept to 500 words. Letters that address material previously published in The Spine Journal may be followed by responses from the author of the work being discussed and/or the Editor. All reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the original manuscript authors are given an opportunity to reply to any comments expressed about their work. Replies to letters to the editor must also be less than 500 words.

    Commentaries - These are solicited pieces, the material for which would reference current topics in spine care, or a concurrently published article. Unlike Letters to the Editor, these pieces will typically be about 1500 words (excluding tables, figures and references) and provide more in-depth discussion on the research in the accompanied manuscript or a topic suggested by the Executive Editorial Board. These manuscripts are composed as stand-alone articles, with appropriate tables, figures and references (limited to 30).

    Perspectives - These are solicited and unsolicited editorial pieces about a topic in spine care, extending beyond a letter to the editor - which usually discuss a previously published TSJ article - but that don't quite meet the criteria for a Review Article. Unlike an Editorial, an article type that is generally reserved for members of the TSJ Editorial Board, Perspectives give a voice to anyone who wishes to express an opinion on a wide range of discussion topics.

    Journal Reports - A review of one to three articles selected from a monthly survey of medical journals that contain content relevant to TSJreaders. Articles will be chosen by the Special Features Editor andEditor-in-Chief. The Spine Journal would like to encourage readers to submit their recommendations for this feature. . You can do so by contacting the editorial office at (630) 230-3646, or by email at spinejournal@spine.org.

    Topics in Clinical Practice - These recurring topic articles will serve as an updated curriculum of evidence-based reviews of topics relevant to practicing clinicians in spinal disorders (both primary care providers and specialists). Articles in this series should include the following sections: the clinical problem, new evidence, areas of uncertainty, critique of current established guidelines, and the authors' conclusions and recommendations. The text is limited to 2500 words plus references, figures, and tables. These articles do not include an abstract, but will include a section box of key advances.

    Images of Spine Care - Brief presentations of material in which the dominant interest is in the visual image(s), including radiographic and MRI images, histo-pathology, photographs or electro-diagnostic tracings; should be submitted as high quality images (TIFF, JPEG or EPS format only) and accompanied by legends, very brief explanatory text, and 1-8 references.

    Book and Media Reviews - Reviews of books and other instructional material, including clinical websites, blogs and other web content. May be submitted unsolicited or assigned. Any content submitted for review should be sent to: <P<TSJ Editorial Office
    7075 Veterans Blvd.
    Burr Ridge, IL 60527
    Email: spinejournal@spine.org

    Online Manuscript Submission & Tracking

    TSJ exclusively uses an electronic submission and tracking system, the Elsevier Electronic System, or EES. Authors may submit their articles by simply registering, logging in and uploading. After registering and submitting, authors may also track their manuscript's progress through the editorial and review process.

    Detailed instructions on the use of the online submission system are available on the EES site, http://www.elsevier.com/journals/the-spine-journal/1529-9430/guide-for-authors under "Guide for Authors." Please read the helpful "Hints" for information on how to register, and review the "Tutorial for Authors" for an overview of the submission process. If you need further help, please contact the Author Support Department via e-mail at authorsupport@elsevier.com.

    On the EES front page, click the "Register" link to input your demographics and set up your account. After your registration is complete, a notice will be sent to your e-mail address indicating your username and password. Use this information to log in to the system as an author by choosing the "Login" link on the toolbar and select "Submit New Manuscript." Follow the prompts to complete your submission according to TSJ guidelines listed in these instructions. You are welcome to contact the TSJ Editorial Office if you have any problems or questions. To update any personal information including your physical or e-mail address click on the "Change Details" icon at the top of your screen.

    Abstract, Manuscript, Figures and Tables, Disclosure information and Affirmation of Authorship form, must be prepared as SEPARATE files; the system requires that each of these files be uploaded separately and blocks incomplete manuscripts from being submitted to the office. Authors should use only those formats that are acceptable to the publisher, Elsevier, in order to ensure proper publication in the print issues. Please refer to the following individual sections for specific file requirements for text, tables, and figures. Each uploaded file must have a corresponding file extension (such as .doc, .tif). Adherence to the guidelines is essential, and faulty manuscripts will be returned to authors for correction before peer-review.

    CHECKLIST FOR TSJ SUBMISSION
    Below is a checklist of items required by TSJ for evaluation of a submission. These items should be included in each submission. Please be sure that you have thoroughly read the instructions for preparation of your manuscript before approving it for submission.
    ICMJE Disclosure Form (each author must provide).
    Affirmation of Authorship Form (completed and uploaded)
    FDA Device/Drug Approval Status Form (completed and uploaded)
    Level of Evidence Form for Clinical Studies (completed and uploaded)
    •Checklists and flow diagrams as specified above in ARTICLE TYPES.
    •Permission for reprinted figures, tables, materials or photographs
    •One copy of the manuscript, blinded, and formatted according to the instructions.
    •Title page including:

      Title;
      Each author's complete name and academic or scientific affiliation.
      Corresponding Author's complete and correct address, phone number, and e-mail address.

    •Structured abstract
    •References (properly formatted)
    •Figure Captions (in the manuscript file, following the references section).
    •Tables (optional).
    •Figures (optional) properly formatted and labeled according to the instructions
    •Appendices (optional) uploaded as "Supplemental File (Text and Figures in .jpg, .tif, .eps, or MS Word format ONLY)."
    •Additional figures and tables for online publication only (optional) uploaded as "Supplemental File (Text and Figures in .jpg, .tif, .eps, or MS Word format ONLY)."
    •Video for online presentation (optional) uploaded as "Supplemental File (VIDEO ONLY)"

    PUBLICATION PROCESS
    After an article has been accepted, it will be processed into page proofs, with all art and tables in place. The production editor will send the corresponding author a galley proof by e-mail or mail, which should be corrected and returned within 48 hours. Authors must check their proofs very carefully, because the approval indicates that all copyediting changes have been accepted unless corrections are returned to the production editor. Authors must also answer any copyediting queries listed on the last page of the proof. An order form for article reprints will be sent to the corresponding author before publication. Reprints should be ordered prior to publication. Keep a copy of the proof for your records

    COPYRIGHT TRANSFER PREPARATION
    Upon acceptance of an article by The Spine Journal, the author(s) will be asked to transfer copyright of the article to the publisher. This transfer will ensure the widest possible dissemination of the published material under US copyright law. Further information is available on the main page of EES once logged in.

    PERMISSIONS
    The author is responsible for obtaining, in writing, the permission of the publisher and/or copyright holder to reprint in TSJ any previously published material, such as figures, tables, and images. The author is responsible for any associated reprint fee. Quotations must be accurate and full credit given to their source. Reference to personal communication must be included in the text using the following form (name, degrees of the person(s) with whom the author has communicated, written or oral communication, month and year). Reference to unpublished data should follow a similar format (name, degree, unpublished data, month, year). The author MUST obtain written permission from the source to use such information and copies MUST be submitted with the manuscript.

    All requests to reproduce or make available anything from TSJ - in whole or in part, in electronic or in any other format, including translation - must be sent to:

    Global Rights Department, Elsevier Ltd PO Box 800 Oxford OX5 1DX, UK Tel: (+44) 1865 843830 (UK) or (+1) 215 239 3804 (US) Fax: (+44) 1865 853333

    Requests may also be completed online via the Elsevier site (http://www.elsevier.com/authors/obtaining-permission-to-re-use-elsevier-material).

    Ethics in publishing

    For information on Ethics in publishing and Ethical guidelines for journal publication see http://www.elsevier.com/publishingethics and http://www.elsevier.com/journal-authors/ethics.

    Use of Animals in Biomed Research

    The Spine Journal condemns unethical treatment of subjects in laboratory research, human and animal. TSJ expects that authors submitting their work do so with the utmost care to ensure that all research was approved by their Institutional Review Board or Animal Research Committee.

    Financial and FDA Disclosure

    All analysis of data, manuscript preparation and presentation will be free of commercial input, influence or bias. It will be the work solely of authors and colleagues. Authors will be forthright about disclosing all relevant data. All relevant findings regarding benefits, risks, complications and related issues will be disclosed in all prepared materials.

    The North American Spine Society has adopted a uniform disclosure policy for all office holders, committee members, authors and presenters. As the official journal of NASS, The Spine Journal adheres to this uniform policy. NASS recognizes that professional relationships with industry are essential for development of new spinal technologies and medical advancement. These relationships do not in any way reflect negatively on the character of an individual. The intent of this policy is to encourage disclosure of situations in which there is even the potential for bias without any implications regarding actual bias.

    As a sponsor accredited with commendation by the ACCME, the North American Spine Society must ensure balance, independence, objectivity and scientific rigor in all its individually or jointly sponsored educational activities. All those participating in a sponsored activity are expected to disclose to the activity audience all financial interests or other relationships with industry that they have. The intent of this disclosure is to ensure that all conflicts of interest, if any, have been identified and have been resolved prior to the speaker's presentation. By doing so, NASS has determined that the speaker's or author's interests or relationships have not influenced the presentation with regard to exposition or conclusion; nor does NASS view the existence of these interests or commitments as necessarily implying bias or decreasing the value of the presentation.

    All grants and/or research funding must state full name of donor and include grant number(s). FDA approval status is required for any devices and/or drugs identified as an important component within the manuscript.

    Elsevier and the TSJ Editors believe it is useful to outline our expectations of authors and procedures that the journal will employ in the event of questions concerning author conduct. Procedures and guidelines with respect to such queries and investigations are outlined in the Elsevier position on Ethical Guidelines for Journal Publication and should be reviewed by authors.

    Submission declaration and verification

    Submission of an article implies that the work described has not been published previously (except in the form of an abstract or as part of a published lecture or academic thesis or as an electronic preprint, see http://www.elsevier.com/postingpolicy), that it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere, that its publication is approved by all authors and tacitly or explicitly by the responsible authorities where the work was carried out, and that, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere in the same form, in English or in any other language, including electronically without the written consent of the copyright-holder. To verify originality, your article may be checked by the originality detection service CrossCheck http://www.elsevier.com/editors/plagdetect.

    Authorship

    Every person listed as an author should qualify for authorship. Each author must affirm that they participated and contributed sufficiently to the work to take public responsibility for the appropriateness of the experimental design and method, and the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data and that this final version has been reviewed and approved for submission and/or publication.

    Authors listed on the required TSJ Affirmation of Authorship form should be in the order in which they are meant to appear. All authors must agree on this order. Once a manuscript has been submitted, the order of authorship (including adding or removing authors) should remain unchanged. Exceptions must be approved by the TSJ editorial office. The corresponding author is responsible for assuring all the involved authors agree with the change.

    In multicenter trials, the writing group authors should be listed along with the group name (e.g., Jameson RK, Smith MS, on behalf of the *group name*). Other group members should be listed in an appendix before the references.

    Changes to authorship

    This policy concerns the addition, deletion, or rearrangement of author names in the authorship of accepted manuscripts:
    Before the accepted manuscript is published in an online issue: Requests to add or remove an author, or to rearrange the author names, must be sent to the Journal Manager from the corresponding author of the accepted manuscript and must include: (a) the reason the name should be added or removed, or the author names rearranged and (b) written confirmation (e-mail, fax, letter) from all authors that they agree with the addition, removal or rearrangement. In the case of addition or removal of authors, this includes confirmation from the author being added or removed. Requests that are not sent by the corresponding author will be forwarded by the Journal Manager to the corresponding author, who must follow the procedure as described above. Note that: (1) Journal Managers will inform the Journal Editors of any such requests and (2) publication of the accepted manuscript in an online issue is suspended until authorship has been agreed.
    After the accepted manuscript is published in an online issue: Any requests to add, delete, or rearrange author names in an article published in an online issue will follow the same policies as noted above and result in a corrigendum.

    Copyright

    This journal offers authors a choice in publishing their research: Open access and Subscription.

    For subscription articles
    Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete a 'Journal Publishing Agreement' (for more information on this and copyright, see http://www.elsevier.com/copyright). An e-mail will be sent to the corresponding author confirming receipt of the manuscript together with a 'Journal Publishing Agreement' form or a link to the online version of this agreement.
    Subscribers may reproduce tables of contents or prepare lists of articles including abstracts for internal circulation within their institutions. Permission of the Publisher is required for resale or distribution outside the institution and for all other derivative works, including compilations and translations (please consult http://www.elsevier.com/permissions). If excerpts from other copyrighted works are included, the author(s) must obtain written permission from the copyright owners and credit the source(s) in the article. Elsevier has preprinted forms for use by authors in these cases: please consult http://www.elsevier.com/permissions.

    For open access articles
    Upon acceptance of an article, authors will be asked to complete an 'Exclusive License Agreement' (for more information see http://www.elsevier.com/OAauthoragreement). Permitted reuse of open access articles is determined by the author's choice of user license (see http://www.elsevier.com/openaccesslicenses).

    Retained author rights
    As an author you (or your employer or institution) retain certain rights. For more information on author rights for:
    Subscription articles please see http://www.elsevier.com/journal-authors/author-rights-and-responsibilities.
    Open access articles please see http://www.elsevier.com/OAauthoragreement.

    Financial Disclosure

    In accordance with the North American Spine Society's (NASS) Universal Disclosure Policy and manuscript submission guidelines recommended by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), you will be asked to provide a comprehensive and universal disclosure form during the online submission process. EACH author must provide a universal disclosure, including dollar amounts in ranges for each financial relationship, using the new ICMJE form. The corresponding author is responsible for sending a blank form (or link to form) to each author, and then collecting all completed forms to upload to the list of submission files.

    Financial associations relevant to the specific article being submitted should be included in the "Methods" section of the article abstract, and presented in the "Discussion" section of the article. Both should include the magnitude of the financial association (ie, specific dollar amounts within ranges).

    Authors of controlled and randomized trials are expected to comply with Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) guidelines. Reports of noncontrolled trials and other clinical studies submitted to TSJ must follow the CONSORT guidelines for reporting harms (adverse events and complications).

    Funding body agreements and policies

    Elsevier has established agreements and developed policies to allow authors whose articles appear in journals published by Elsevier, to comply with potential manuscript archiving requirements as specified as conditions of their grant awards. To learn more about existing agreements and policies please visit http://www.elsevier.com/fundingbodies.

    Open access

    This journal offers authors a choice in publishing their research:

    Open access
    • Articles are freely available to both subscribers and the wider public with permitted reuse
    • An open access publication fee is payable by authors or their research funder
    Subscription
    • Articles are made available to subscribers as well as developing countries and patient groups through our access programs (http://www.elsevier.com/access)
    • No open access publication fee

    All articles published open access will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download. Permitted reuse is defined by your choice of one of the following Creative Commons user licenses:
    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, to create extracts, abstracts and other revised versions, adaptations or derivative works of or from an article (such as a translation), to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), to text and data mine the article, as long as they credit the author(s), do not represent the author as endorsing their adaptation of the article, do not modify the article in such a way as to damage the author's honor or reputation, and license their new adaptations or creations under identical terms (CC BY-NC-SA).
    Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.

    Elsevier has established agreements with funding bodies, http://www.elsevier.com/fundingbodies. This ensures authors can comply with funding body open access requirements, including specific user licenses, such as CC BY. Some authors may also be reimbursed for associated publication fees. If you need to comply with your funding body policy, you can apply for the CC BY license after your manuscript is accepted for publication.

    To provide open access, this journal has a publication fee which needs to be met by the authors or their research funders for each article published open access.
    Your publication choice will have no effect on the peer review process or acceptance of submitted articles.

    The open access publication fee for this journal is 2500, excluding taxes. Learn more about Elsevier's pricing policy: http://www.elsevier.com/openaccesspricing.

    Language (usage and editing services)

    Please write your text in good English (American or British usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these). Authors who feel their English language manuscript may require editing to eliminate possible grammatical or spelling errors and to conform to correct scientific English may wish to use the English Language Editing service available from Elsevier's WebShop (http://webshop.elsevier.com/languageediting/) or visit our customer support site (http://support.elsevier.com) for more information.

    Submission

    Submission to this journal proceeds totally online and you will be guided stepwise through the creation and uploading of your files. The system automatically converts source files to a single PDF file of the article, which is used in the peer-review process. Please note that even though manuscript source files are converted to PDF files at submission for the review process, these source files are needed for further processing after acceptance. All correspondence, including notification of the Editor's decision and requests for revision, takes place by e-mail removing the need for a paper trail.

    Submit your article
    Please submit your article via http://www.thespinejournalonline.com/authorinfo.

    General Manuscript Formatting

    The following separate components are required (except as noted when optional):

      1. Abstract (structured as outlined below. Methods section must include detailed relevant disclosure)
      2. Keywords (6-10)
      3. Classifications
      4. Title Page (separate from manuscript) with all authors, affiliations and corresponding author's full contact information
      5. Revision notes (revision stage only)
      6. Manuscript document (blinded - no author names, headers, acknowledgements)
      7. Tables (optional)
      8. Figures (optional)
      9. CMJE-TSJ Author Disclosure form
      10. Affirmation of Authorship form
      11. FDA drug/device approval status form
      12. Level of Evidence form (Clinical Studies only)
      13. Appropriate checklists and flow diagrams as specified below in ARTICLE TYPES.

    Cover Letter
    Manuscripts may be accompanied by a cover letter, to include information on the manuscript's prior publication or previous rejection by another journal. It is also meant to give the author(s) the chance to speak to the originality of the work being presented, as well as any other information the author(s) wish to convey to the editorial office staff and Editor-in-Chief. If the paper has been rejected previously by another journal, the author(s) should describe specifically how it has been improved since being rejected.

    The Cover letter should be pasted into the box at the "Enter Comments" step, just prior to the "Attach files" section.

    The First or Corresponding author of a manuscript should confirm that he/she "had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis as well as the decision to submit for publication."

    A separate cover letter, called a "Revision Notes" file, is required for revised manuscripts, and must respond to all comments made by the reviewers and editors. Even if the authors decide not to alter a part of the manuscript based on a particular revision request, a response should be included for said comment.

    Style
    Keep to the guidelines of style, terminology, measurement and quantization as prescribed in the American Medical Association Manual of Style (10th ed. Oxford University Press, NY, 2007). TSJ can accept text files in most standard word processing formats but Microsoft Word is preferred. Manuscripts must be blind (no author names, headers, acknowledgements, imbedded comments) keyed.

    Manuscript pages and text lines should be numbered. When numbering your text, begin the first line on each page with 1.

    Distinguish between capital letter O and number 0, as well as capital letter I, lowercase letter l and number 1. However, authors should not attempt to determine the visual presentation of the article. All design considerations regarding typeface, page layout, artwork, etc. will be handled by the publisher; do not use any special formatting. All text should be flush left. Do not indent paragraphs. Double hard return between paragraphs and between list items. Do not use hard returns within a paragraph or list item. Tabs should not be used, except in Tables, where they should be used to align columns. Do not use your word processor's hyphenation capabilities.

    Peer Review Process
    Full length articles, Technical Reports, Review Articles and Case Studies are peer-reviewed. The managing editor is the first-look editor for all manuscripts, evaluating text and general submission format. The managing editor makes sure all manuscripts meet TSJ's guidelines as prescribed in these author instructions. Once a manuscript has been initially evaluated, the managing editor will assign a set of appropriately chosen peer reviewers to evaluate and make comments on the manuscript. The invited reviewers are knowledgeable about the field of study being discussed, and as such are able to comment on the research and any subsequent conclusions made.

    For most manuscripts TSJ is a double-blind journal. Great care is taken not to reveal the identity of the reviewers or the author(s).

    In most cases a deputy editor will evaluate the reviewers' comments and make a recommendation to the Editor-in-Chief regarding publication. THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF HAS FINAL SAY ABOUT THE FATE OF ALL MANUSCRIPTS. If the editors feel the manuscript could be eligible for publication following author revision - be it minor or major - the submission will be sent back to the corresponding author. The corresponding author should consider making any changes suggested by the reviewers and editors and return the research back to the editorial office. The managing editor will again send the manuscript out for a second round of reviews. Whenever possible, the reviewers from the first round will be invited again, so as to encourage continuity of review.

    EXPEDITED REVIEW
    The Spine Journal now offers an expedited review process, by which manuscripts can be reviewed, accepted and published in one to two publications cycles (as little as 60 days). Those manuscripts that the editorial board feels are timely in nature, or of great importance to the field of spine care, will be managed through the peer-review process quickly and given a fast-tracked priority rating. If you have material you believe is time sensitive (eg, device complications, procedures under administrative review, etc.), please note this in the submittal letter to the Editor-in-chief. We will make every effort to move these submissions to an early publication.

    Use of word processing software

    It is important that the file be saved in the native format of the word processor used. The text should be in single-column format. Keep the layout of the text as simple as possible. Most formatting codes will be removed and replaced on processing the article. In particular, do not use the word processor's options to justify text or to hyphenate words. However, do use bold face, italics, subscripts, superscripts etc. When preparing tables, if you are using a table grid, use only one grid for each individual table and not a grid for each row. If no grid is used, use tabs, not spaces, to align columns. The electronic text should be prepared in a way very similar to that of conventional manuscripts (see also the Guide to Publishing with Elsevier: http://www.elsevier.com/guidepublication). Note that source files of figures, tables and text graphics will be required whether or not you embed your figures in the text. See also the section on Electronic artwork.
    To avoid unnecessary errors you are strongly advised to use the 'spell-check' and 'grammar-check' functions of your word processor.

    Article Structure

    The following separate components are required (except as noted when optional):

      1. Abstract (structured as outlined below. Methods section must include detailed relevant disclosure)
      2. Keywords (6-10)
      3. Classifications
      4. Title Page (separate from manuscript) with all authors, affiliations and corresponding author's full contact information
      5. Revision notes (revision stage only)
      6. Manuscript document (blinded - no author names, headers, acknowledgements)
      7. Tables (optional)
      8. Figures (optional)
      9. CMJE-TSJ Author Disclosure form
      10. Affirmation of Authorship form
      11. FDA drug/device approval status form
      12. Level of Evidence form (Clinical Studies only)
      13. Appropriate checklists and flow diagrams as specified below in ARTICLE TYPES.

    Cover Letter
    Manuscripts may be accompanied by a cover letter, to include information on the manuscript's prior publication or previous rejection by another journal. It is also meant to give the author(s) the chance to speak to the originality of the work being presented, as well as any other information the author(s) wish to convey to the editorial office staff and Editor-in-Chief. If the paper has been rejected previously by another journal, the author(s) should describe specifically how it has been improved since being rejected.

    The Cover letter should be pasted into the box at the "Enter Comments" step, just prior to the "Attach files" section.

    The First or Corresponding author of a manuscript should confirm that he/she "had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis as well as the decision to submit for publication."

    A separate cover letter, called a "Revision Notes" file, is required for revised manuscripts, and must respond to all comments made by the reviewers and editors. Even if the authors decide not to alter a part of the manuscript based on a particular revision request, a response should be included for said comment.

    Style
    Keep to the guidelines of style, terminology, measurement and quantization as prescribed in the American Medical Association Manual of Style (10th ed. Oxford University Press, NY, 2007). TSJ can accept text files in most standard word processing formats but Microsoft Word is preferred. Manuscripts must be blind (no author names, headers, acknowledgements, imbedded comments) keyed.

    Manuscript pages and text lines should be numbered. When numbering your text, begin the first line on each page with 1.

    Distinguish between capital letter O and number 0, as well as capital letter I, lowercase letter l and number 1. However, authors should not attempt to determine the visual presentation of the article. All design considerations regarding typeface, page layout, artwork, etc. will be handled by the publisher; do not use any special formatting. All text should be flush left. Do not indent paragraphs. Double hard return between paragraphs and between list items. Do not use hard returns within a paragraph or list item. Tabs should not be used, except in Tables, where they should be used to align columns. Do not use your word processor's hyphenation capabilities.

    Subdivision - unnumbered sections
    Divide your article into clearly defined sections. Each subsection is given a brief heading. Each heading should appear on its own separate line. Subsections should be used as much as possible when cross-referencing text: refer to the subsection by heading as opposed to simply 'the text'.

    Introduction
    State the objectives of the work and provide an adequate background, avoiding a detailed literature survey or a summary of the results.

    Material and methods
    Provide sufficient detail to allow the work to be reproduced. Methods already published should be indicated by a reference: only relevant modifications should be described.

    Theory/calculation
    A Theory section should extend, not repeat, the background to the article already dealt with in the Introduction and lay the foundation for further work. In contrast, a Calculation section represents a practical development from a theoretical basis.

    Results
    Results should be clear and concise.

    Discussion
    This should explore the significance of the results of the work, not repeat them. A combined Results and Discussion section is often appropriate. Avoid extensive citations and discussion of published literature.

    Conclusions
    The main conclusions of the study may be presented in a short Conclusions section, which may stand alone or form a subsection of a Discussion or Results and Discussion section.

    Appendices
    If there is more than one appendix, they should be identified as A, B, etc. Formulae and equations in appendices should be given separate numbering: Eq. (A.1), Eq. (A.2), etc.; in a subsequent appendix, Eq. (B.1) and so on. Similarly for tables and figures: Table A.1; Fig. A.1, etc.

    Essential title page information

    Title. Concise and informative. Titles are often used in information-retrieval systems. Avoid abbreviations and formulae where possible.
    Author names and affiliations. Where the family name may be ambiguous (e.g., a double name), please indicate this clearly. Present the authors' affiliation addresses (where the actual work was done) below the names. Indicate all affiliations with a lower-case superscript letter immediately after the author's name and in front of the appropriate address. Provide the full postal address of each affiliation, including the country name and, if available, the e-mail address of each author.
    Corresponding author. Clearly indicate who will handle correspondence at all stages of refereeing and publication, also post-publication. Ensure that phone numbers (with country and area code) are provided in addition to the e-mail address and the complete postal address. Contact details must be kept up to date by the corresponding author.
    Present/permanent address. If an author has moved since the work described in the article was done, or was visiting at the time, a 'Present address' (or 'Permanent address') may be indicated as a footnote to that author's name. The address at which the author actually did the work must be retained as the main, affiliation address. Superscript Arabic numerals are used for such footnotes.

    Abstract

    A structured abstract must be included with all article-types and must use the following subheadings in the order shown (Subheadings may not be combined):

    •Background Context
    •Purpose
    •Study Design/Setting
    •Patient Sample (MUST be included in Clinical Studies)
    •Outcome Measures (MUST be included in Clinical Studies)
    •Methods
    •Results
    •Conclusions

    * The METHODS section of the abstract MUST incorporate both study funding sources and a study-specific appraisal of potential conflict of interest-associated biases in the text of the manuscript. All applicable financial relationships will include magnitude of financial association - specific dollar amounts within ranges. It will be expected that authors will discuss these potential sources of study bias in the ''Discussion'' section of their article as a matter of routine, similar to discussions of other biases and limitations usually addressed. For more information, please see the editorial in the August 2011 issue of The Spine Journal, "Future directions for The Spine Journal: managing and reporting conflict of interest issues."

    * The OUTCOME MEASURES subheading must provide information on one or more of the following categories, listed in the following order:
    •Self-report Measures, eg, validated pain rating scale, disability questionnaire, etc.
    •Physiologic Measures, eg, imaging or electrodiagnostic tests, aerobic capacity, range of motion or strength, etc.
    •Functional Measures, eg, work status, health utilization, activities of daily living assessment, etc.

    Keywords

    Immediately after the abstract, provide 6-10 keywords, using American spelling and avoiding general and plural terms and multiple concepts (avoid, for example, 'and', 'of'). Be sparing with abbreviations: only abbreviations firmly established in the field may be eligible. These keywords will be used for indexing purposes.

    Abbreviations

    Define abbreviations that are not standard in this field in a footnote to be placed on the first page of the article. Such abbreviations that are unavoidable in the abstract must be defined at their first mention there, as well as in the footnote. Ensure consistency of abbreviations throughout the article.

    Acknowledgements

    Collate acknowledgements in a separate section at the end of the article before the references and do not, therefore, include them on the title page, as a footnote to the title or otherwise. List here those individuals who provided help during the research (e.g., providing language help, writing assistance or proof reading the article, etc.).

    Units

    Follow internationally accepted rules and conventions: use the international system of units (SI). If other units are mentioned, please give their equivalent in SI.

    Math formulae

    Present simple formulae in the line of normal text where possible and use the solidus (/) instead of a horizontal line for small fractional terms, e.g., X/Y. In principle, variables are to be presented in italics. Powers of e are often more conveniently denoted by exp. Number consecutively any equations that have to be displayed separately from the text (if referred to explicitly in the text).

    Footnotes

    Footnotes should be used sparingly. Number them consecutively throughout the article, using superscript Arabic numbers. Many wordprocessors build footnotes into the text, and this feature may be used. Should this not be the case, indicate the position of footnotes in the text and present the footnotes themselves separately at the end of the article. Do not include footnotes in the Reference list.
    Table footnotes
    Indicate each footnote in a table with a superscript lowercase letter.

    Artwork

    Electronic artwork
    General points
    • Make sure you use uniform lettering and sizing of your original artwork.
    • Embed the used fonts if the application provides that option.
    • Aim to use the following fonts in your illustrations: Arial, Courier, Times New Roman, Symbol, or use fonts that look similar.
    • Number the illustrations according to their sequence in the text.
    • Use a logical naming convention for your artwork files.
    • Provide captions to illustrations separately.
    • Size the illustrations close to the desired dimensions of the printed version.
    • Submit each illustration as a separate file.
    A detailed guide on electronic artwork is available on our website:
    http://www.elsevier.com/artworkinstructions
    You are urged to visit this site; some excerpts from the detailed information are given here.
    Formats
    If your electronic artwork is created in a Microsoft Office application (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) then please supply 'as is' in the native document format.
    Regardless of the application used other than Microsoft Office, when your electronic artwork is finalized, please 'Save as' or convert the images to one of the following formats (note the resolution requirements for line drawings, halftones, and line/halftone combinations given below):
    EPS (or PDF): Vector drawings, embed all used fonts.
    TIFF (or JPEG): Color or grayscale photographs (halftones), keep to a minimum of 300 dpi.
    TIFF (or JPEG): Bitmapped (pure black & white pixels) line drawings, keep to a minimum of 1000 dpi.
    TIFF (or JPEG): Combinations bitmapped line/half-tone (color or grayscale), keep to a minimum of 500 dpi.
    Please do not:
    • Supply files that are optimized for screen use (e.g., GIF, BMP, PICT, WPG); these typically have a low number of pixels and limited set of colors;
    • Supply files that are too low in resolution;
    • Submit graphics that are disproportionately large for the content.

    Color artwork
    Please make sure that artwork files are in an acceptable format (TIFF (or JPEG), EPS (or PDF) or MS Office files) and with the correct resolution. If, together with your accepted article, you submit usable color figures then Elsevier will ensure, at no additional charge, that these figures will appear in color on the Web (e.g., ScienceDirect and other sites) in addition to color reproduction in print. For further information on the preparation of electronic artwork, please see http://www.elsevier.com/artworkinstructions.

    Illustration services

    Elsevier's WebShop (http://webshop.elsevier.com/illustrationservices) offers Illustration Services to authors preparing to submit a manuscript but concerned about the quality of the images accompanying their article. Elsevier's expert illustrators can produce scientific, technical and medical-style images, as well as a full range of charts, tables and graphs. Image 'polishing' is also available, where our illustrators take your image(s) and improve them to a professional standard. Please visit the website to find out more.

    Figure captions
    Ensure that each illustration has a caption. Supply captions separately, not attached to the figure. A caption should comprise a brief title (not on the figure itself) and a description of the illustration. Keep text in the illustrations themselves to a minimum but explain all symbols and abbreviations used.

    Graphics and Figures 
    The Spine Journal can now publish all figures in full color at no cost to the authors. Preferred formats are TIFF, JPEG or EPS with resolutions of 300 DPI and a minimum width of 3.5 inches wide. However, figures created in Microsoft Word or Excel (charts, graphs, etc.) can be presented in Word without concern for resolution or size. For further information on the preparation of electronic artwork, please refer to Elsevier's Author Artwork Instructions.

    Figures should be consecutively numbered (Arabic) as they appear in the text and accompanied by legends. Do not embed your labels/titles in the figures; Use the "Description" lines provided with each file at the "Attach Files" step to label. (eg, Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3a, etc.).
    Figures must not be embedded within or attached to the manuscript,; they are submitted separately, one-at-a-time, under FIGURES.

    TSJ has an Artwork Quality checking system, provided through the EES system. At the time of submission, the system evaluates each figure for file type, resolution, size (width) and color scheme. The authors must confirm that the figures "pass" this verification system. Authors should understand, however, that our journal standards for art may exceed the artwork quality check tool. Certain figures will be given a "pass with warning" designation, suggesting that the publisher can work with the file despite its minor flaws. TSJ, however, will rarely accept figures with such a designation. Please be sure that your figures are the appropriate format, size and resolution before attaching them to your submission. If the authors are not able to provide sufficient digital figures, they will have to submit one 5 x 7-inch, high-quality print of each figure, labeled only on the back, in a separate protected envelope. Once received, the editorial office will scan the figures at the appropriate size and resolution, and upload them to your submission. Please bear in mind that this will dramatically slow the progress of your manuscript. As such, we highly recommend you utilize your institution's Information Technologies department to reformat any figures that do not meet TSJ standards.

    The editor-in-chief reserves the right to withdraw a previously accepted manuscript if the author cannot produce high-quality figures in a timely manner to accompany the text.

    Figures that have been previously published must be submitted with a letter of permission to reprint from the original publisher.

    Figure Legends
    Legends should be double-spaced, numbered corresponding to the Figures. The Legend must appear within the main manuscript, immediately following the References. Please use lowercase letters to label multipart figures. When symbols, arrows, numbers or letters are used for identification, each should be explained clearly in the Legend. For microphotographs, internal scale marks should be defined and the method of staining given. If the figure has been previously published, a credit line should be included and a Letter of Permission from the previous publisher must accompany manuscript submission.

    Tables

    All Tables should be typed, double-spaced and be numbered consecutively with descriptive titles. Do not place table titles and descriptions on your Figure Captions page, or any other separate legend page. All abbreviations used must be defined in footnotes at the bottom of the Table. Acknowledgement of previously published material should be given in a footnote to the Table, and the source should be included in the Reference list. Footnotes should be ordered as they appear in the Table with superscript Arabic numerals.

    Tables must not be imbedded within or attached to the manuscript; they are submitted separately, one-at-a-time, under TABLES.

    References

    Citation in text
    Please ensure that every reference cited in the text is also present in the reference list (and vice versa). Any references cited in the abstract must be given in full. Unpublished results and personal communications are not recommended in the reference list, but may be mentioned in the text. If these references are included in the reference list they should follow the standard reference style of the journal and should include a substitution of the publication date with either 'Unpublished results' or 'Personal communication'. Citation of a reference as 'in press' implies that the item has been accepted for publication.

    Reference links
    Increased discoverability of research and high quality peer review are ensured by online links to the sources cited. In order to allow us to create links to abstracting and indexing services, such as Scopus, CrossRef and PubMed, please ensure that data provided in the references are correct. Please note that incorrect surnames, journal/book titles, publication year and pagination may prevent link creation. When copying references, please be careful as they may already contain errors. Use of the DOI is encouraged.

    Web references
    As a minimum, the full URL should be given and the date when the reference was last accessed. Any further information, if known (DOI, author names, dates, reference to a source publication, etc.), should also be given. Web references can be listed separately (e.g., after the reference list) under a different heading if desired, or can be included in the reference list.

    Reference formatting
    There are no strict requirements on reference formatting at submission. References can be in any style or format as long as the style is consistent. Where applicable, author(s) name(s), journal title/book title, chapter title/article title, year of publication, volume number/book chapter and the pagination must be present. Use of DOI is highly encouraged. The reference style used by the journal will be applied to the accepted article by Elsevier at the proof stage. Note that missing data will be highlighted at proof stage for the author to correct. If you do wish to format the references yourself they should be arranged according to the following examples:

    Reference style
    Text: Indicate references by number(s) in square brackets in line with the text. The actual authors can be referred to, but the reference number(s) must always be given.
    Example: '..... as demonstrated [3,6]. Barnaby and Jones [8] obtained a different result ....'
    List: Number the references (numbers in square brackets) in the list in the order in which they appear in the text.
    Examples:
    Reference to a journal publication:
    [1] J. van der Geer, J.A.J. Hanraads, R.A. Lupton, The art of writing a scientific article, J. Sci. Commun. 163 (2010) 51–59.
    Reference to a book:
    [2] W. Strunk Jr., E.B. White, The Elements of Style, fourth ed., Longman, New York, 2000.
    Reference to a chapter in an edited book:
    [3] G.R. Mettam, L.B. Adams, How to prepare an electronic version of your article, in: B.S. Jones, R.Z. Smith (Eds.), Introduction to the Electronic Age, E-Publishing Inc., New York, 2009, pp. 281–304.

    Journal abbreviations source
    Journal names should be abbreviated according to the List of Title Word Abbreviations: http://www.issn.org/services/online-services/access-to-the-ltwa/.

    Video data

    Elsevier accepts video material and animation sequences to support and enhance your scientific research. Authors who have video or animation files that they wish to submit with their article are strongly encouraged to include links to these within the body of the article. This can be done in the same way as a figure or table by referring to the video or animation content and noting in the body text where it should be placed. All submitted files should be properly labeled so that they directly relate to the video file's content. In order to ensure that your video or animation material is directly usable, please provide the files in one of our recommended file formats with a preferred maximum size of 50 MB. Video and animation files supplied will be published online in the electronic version of your article in Elsevier Web products, including ScienceDirect: http://www.sciencedirect.com. Please supply 'stills' with your files: you can choose any frame from the video or animation or make a separate image. These will be used instead of standard icons and will personalize the link to your video data. For more detailed instructions please visit our video instruction pages at http://www.elsevier.com/artworkinstructions. Note: since video and animation cannot be embedded in the print version of the journal, please provide text for both the electronic and the print version for the portions of the article that refer to this content.

    Supplementary data

    Elsevier accepts electronic supplementary material to support and enhance your scientific research. Supplementary files offer the author additional possibilities to publish supporting applications, high-resolution images, background datasets, sound clips and more. Supplementary files supplied will be published online alongside the electronic version of your article in Elsevier Web products, including ScienceDirect: http://www.sciencedirect.com. In order to ensure that your submitted material is directly usable, please provide the data in one of our recommended file formats. Authors should submit the material in electronic format together with the article and supply a concise and descriptive caption for each file. For more detailed instructions please visit our artwork instruction pages at http://www.elsevier.com/artworkinstructions.

    Submission checklist

    The following list will be useful during the final checking of an article prior to sending it to the journal for review. Please consult this Guide for Authors for further details of any item.
    Ensure that the following items are present:
    One author has been designated as the corresponding author with contact details:
    • E-mail address
    • Full postal address
    • Phone numbers
    All necessary files have been uploaded, and contain:
    • Keywords
    • All figure captions
    • All tables (including title, description, footnotes)
    Further considerations
    • Manuscript has been 'spell-checked' and 'grammar-checked'
    • References are in the correct format for this journal
    • All references mentioned in the Reference list are cited in the text, and vice versa
    • Permission has been obtained for use of copyrighted material from other sources (including the Web)
    • Color figures are clearly marked as being intended for color reproduction on the Web (free of charge) and in print, or to be reproduced in color on the Web (free of charge) and in black-and-white in print
    • If only color on the Web is required, black-and-white versions of the figures are also supplied for printing purposes
    For any further information please visit our customer support site at http://support.elsevier.com.

    Corresponding Author

    For all submissions, the corresponding author will be responsible for all questions about the manuscript and for reprint requests. Only one author can be designated as "corresponding author." The title holds no special authority or responsibility regarding contents and is rather an administrative designation for the editorial office to have consistent communication with the team of authors. As such, the first/principle author does not need to be designated as the corresponding author. Select an author who will be located at the same address for an extended period, and can respond to post-publication correspondence.

    Revisions
    Revisions should be submitted to the TSJ Editorial Office as soon as possible. The standing deadline is 21 days. It is the corresponding author's responsibility to request more time if necessary, and to keep the editorial office abreast of the manuscript's progress. If after six months we do not hear from the corresponding author, the submission in question will be scheduled for deletion from the system. A final disposition of "withdrawn" will be given to the manuscript.

    After Acceptance

    Use of the Digital Object Identifier

    The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) may be used to cite and link to electronic documents. The DOI consists of a unique alpha-numeric character string which is assigned to a document by the publisher upon the initial electronic publication. The assigned DOI never changes. Therefore, it is an ideal medium for citing a document, particularly 'Articles in press' because they have not yet received their full bibliographic information. Example of a correctly given DOI (in URL format; here an article in the journal Physics Letters B):
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.physletb.2010.09.059
    When you use a DOI to create links to documents on the web, the DOIs are guaranteed never to change.

    Online proof correction

    Corresponding authors will receive an e-mail with a link to our online proofing system, allowing annotation and correction of proofs online. The environment is similar to MS Word: in addition to editing text, you can also comment on figures/tables and answer questions from the Copy Editor. Web-based proofing provides a faster and less error-prone process by allowing you to directly type your corrections, eliminating the potential introduction of errors.
    If preferred, you can still choose to annotate and upload your edits on the PDF version. All instructions for proofing will be given in the e-mail we send to authors, including alternative methods to the online version and PDF.
    We will do everything possible to get your article published quickly and accurately. Please use this proof only for checking the typesetting, editing, completeness and correctness of the text, tables and figures. Significant changes to the article as accepted for publication will only be considered at this stage with permission from the Editor.It is important to ensure that all corrections are sent back to us in one communication. Please check carefully before replying, as inclusion of any subsequent corrections cannot be guaranteed. Proofreading is solely your responsibility.

    Author Inquiries
    If you have any general questions, please contact: Taylor Bowen, Managing Editor; e-mail: tbowen@spine.org; phone(434) 977-5494.

    If you have questions related to the electronic submission process or uploading your files, please contact the Author Support Department via e-mail at: authorsupport@elsevier.com.

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