Dr. Pablo Pazmino: Key thoughts on stem cells & new technology in spine surgery

Written by Laura Dyrda | September 25, 2018 | Print  |

Pablo Pazmino, MD, medical director of Spine Cal in Santa Monica, Calif., discusses the key trends in spinal and neurospine technology and how he evaluates new technology for his practice.

Dr. Pazmino is a featured speaker at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + The Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, June 13-15 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com.

Question: What technology and techniques are you most excited for in the future?

Dr. Pablo Pazimno: I think to some extent this will always be an integral part of our practice and it's important to always be on the lookout for ways in which we can optimize our skills and what we can offer others. For example, while I am excited by innovations in stem cell therapies, I feel we must be cognizant of the potential pitfalls and risks that come with these modalities. Ultimately, at its core, the disc is an avascular structure, so on some level I am unsure as to how stem cells can survive or much less be expected to thrive in this harsh nutritional environment all while being submitted to its underlying axial and torsional loads.

We have also had reports of some patients who have pursued stem cell treatment abroad and have encountered drastic complications in the form of new onset spinal tumors that resulted from these costly procedures. With this in mind, I feel that while exiting we should first verify that technologies like stem cells actually perform what we anticipate while limiting their potential risks in our hands.

Q: How do you evaluate new technologies and techniques?

PP: After doing a thorough literature review, if I feel a given technology applies to my practice I discuss the technology with my patients, and when applicable, I will try it in five patients and follow them out for one year before broadening its use any further in my practice. As far as techniques, I am constantly on the lookout for new techniques that can help streamline my procedures while decreasing risk to my patients. New techniques are always practiced first in a cadaveric setting, then discussed with my colleagues and finally in the practice setting with a back up plan in tow.

Q: Is your practice moving toward value-based care? How does new technology fit in, whether you're taking cases to a hospital or outpatient surgery center?

PP: At this point, I have not felt the impetus towards value-based care, but we are constantly preparing for its implementation by gathering data on outcomes. I also try to use the best overall technology in my patients whether it's an inpatient or outpatient setting.

To participate in a future Becker's Q&A, contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com.

More articles on spine surgery:
The next 5 years: Where Dr. Todd Chapman sees the biggest challenges & opportunities for spine surgeons just starting out
How an early-career spine surgeon sees his practice evolving
The biggest challenges in spine reimbursement today and the value-based solution

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