Dr. Alpesh Patel: The biggest challenge in spine today + new innovations in spinal biologics

Written by Laura Dyrda | December 20, 2018 | Print  |

Alpesh Patel, MD, director of the spine surgery fellowship and co-director of the Northwestern Spine Center in Chicago, discusses the key trends for orthopedics in 2019 and where he sees the biggest opportunity for growth.

 Dr. Patel will share his expertise as a speaker at the Becker's ASC 26th Annual Meeting: The Business and Operations of ASCs, Oct. 24-26, 2019 in Chicago. To learn more and register, click here. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com. 

Question: What are the top two to three challenges you're facing heading into 2019?

Dr. Alpesh Patel: The biggest challenge we face as surgeons is proving reliability and consistency to the procedures we perform for patients. The level of transparency around health outcomes has improved dramatically over even just the past five years with the adoption of standard outcome measures (PROMIS) and the proliferation of data analytics. To that end, we need to take a hard look at some of our most common procedures — laminectomy, lumbar fusion, cervical fusion — and ask if we are truly doing all we can do to get the best long-term result for our patient. This means challenging conventional notions from the biology of bone healing all the way up to global understandings of spinal alignment.

Q: What technology are you most excited about in the future?

AP: Technologies that address the issues mentioned earlier are the ones that create the most excitement. For example, biological solutions for bone healing today feel like an 'all or nothing' approach. Either we see potentially ineffective bone substitutes or we see products that can create extreme biological responses creating complications instead of solutions.

Kuros Biosciences is planning a clinical trial to investigate its novel biological product in the setting of a lumbar interbody fusion. It is an in situ polymerizing agent that combines naturally occurring fibrin with parathyroid hormone to promote a safe pathway for bone healing. While not approved by the FDA for use currently, it is a technology that is really exciting and may find solutions for our challenges with fusions in the spine.

Q: What is your best opportunity for growth?

AP: In general, growth for businesses entering spine is going to come from meaningful innovation that then creates product differentiation. Meaningful innovation will only occur if real clinical needs are met: safer, reliable and predictable spinal fusion as one example. Studies, like the upcoming Kuros study on Fibrin-Parathyroid hormone, will provide evidence as to whether or not these clinical needs are being met. Those facts, presented within a framework of improving patient outcomes, can be drivers of growth.

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

For a deeper dive into the future of spine, attend the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC in Chicago, June 13-5, 2019. Click here to learn more and register.

More articles on orthopedic surgeons:
Dr. Jason Weisstein: 3 Qs on the big challenges and best opportunities for orthopedic surgeons next year
Dr. Jonathan Schoenecker on how VR helps orthopedic surgeons train for the OR
10 orthopedic surgeon leaders to know

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