Two fellowship-trained spine surgeons — Leo Spector, MD, and Alden Milam, MD — of Charlotte-based Ortho Carolina Spine Center provided their insight into future spine care trends.
Q: What technology do you see having the biggest impact on spine patient care?
Dr. Leo Spector: Robotics and image guidance. Multimodal pain care. These technologies will help the transition from high cost centers to lower cost alternatives.
Dr. Alden Milam: Minimally invasive technologies are allowing us as surgeons to treat pathology that once required much bigger incisions and muscle dissection.
Q: How do you see outpatient spine procedures developing in the future?
LS: Exponentially. More and more care will transition from traditional high cost locations to lower cost alternatives for elective spine care.
AM: As we provide better pain relief with multimodal analgesia and anesthesia, more complex surgeries will be capable of being done in outpatient settings.
Q: How has your patient population changed over the past five years? How do you expect it to evolve in the future?
LS: I expect patients to become more informed and engaged in their care.
AM: Patients are more open to outpatient surgery now compared to five years ago, particularly when it lowers their cost of care. As we provide better pain relief with multi-modal analgesia and anesthesia, patients are getting good postoperative pain control and do not have to worry about the spikes in pain.
Q: What is one program your practice has implemented that you're particularly proud of, and why?
LS: Surgical optimization for lumbar fusions. Trying to improve patient outcomes by addressing modifiable risk factors prior to elective surgery delivers a higher quality of care for our patients.