Dr. Benjamin Burkett: Cost savings in spinal fusion and joining a new private practice in Ohio

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Fellowship-trained spine surgeon Benjamin Burkett, MD, recently joined Newark, Ohio-based Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine.

Dr. Burkett specializes in spinal deformity reconstruction and minimally invasive surgery as well as cervical, thoracic and lumbar fusions.

Here, Dr. Burkett discusses why he joined OSSM and shares his insight on cost savings and future trends in outpatient spinal fusions.

Q: What are you looking forward to practicing with Orthopedic Specialists & Sports Medicine? Can you share some insight into how your decision came about?

Dr. Benjamin Burkett: I am very excited to join the Orthopedic Specialists of Newark-Granville. Our practice philosophies strive to bring a forward-thinking approach to patient-centered medicine, investigating new technologies and novel approaches for the patient undergoing orthopedic and spine surgeries. In making my decision, I am attracted to this area of central Ohio, which is closer to my family. The group is a great fit for me; I wanted to pursue a private practice in which I could build a comprehensive spine program while also taking care of additional orthopedic pathologies outside of the spine. I truly enjoy taking care of the whole patient. I bring an expertise in minimally invasive spinal surgery, spinal fusion, spinal deformity reconstruction, scoliosis, hip and knee joint replacement and arthroscopy.

Q: How can spine surgeons help make spinal fusions more cost-effective without sacrificing quality? How do you see spinal fusions evolving in the future?

BB: As our surgical techniques become safer, the cost savings will be born through lower complication rates and decreasing length of hospital stay.

The ability to perform anterior and lateral approach spinal fusion through small incisions allows for a smart, technically sound operation — one that can be done in an ambulatory setting. The goal is to provide superior surgical outcomes while reducing hospital length of stay and minimize requirements for narcotic medicines, really trying to replicate the successes that have been gained in the outpatient total joint replacement arena. 

Q: What spine device has dramatically improved OR efficiency in your practice?

BB: The lateral and anterior approaches are a tremendous tool allowing for improved spinal alignment, surgical efficiency, minimal blood loss and faster recovery. 

Q: What are the most pressing issues for outpatient spinal fusions?

BB: Anytime the discussion turns to outpatient spine surgery, safety and novel approaches for pain control must be the foremost challenges to solve. The more effectively we can address patients' postoperative pain, the more effective we will be at delivering patients with successful spine surgery in the outpatient setting.

Q: In your opinion, what is the next big trend on the horizon in spine?

BB: The advancement of minimally invasive techniques allows the present day spine surgeon to perform sophisticated instrumentation and spinal fusion without significant disruption to the patient's native anatomy. In addition, the lateral retroperitoneal approaches provide additional tools to accomplish profound spinal reconstruction with minimal operative time, tissue dissection and blood loss. 3D imaging guidance and robotics are both exciting technologies which are sure to improve safety and operative efficiency.

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