Track outcomes closely with new spine technology, Dr. Alok Sharan says

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Safety and outcome tracking are the two most important aspects for surgeons trying new technology, according to Alok Sharan, MD.

Dr. Sharan, of NJ Spine and Wellness in East Brunswick, told Becker's Spine Review why those factors are important.

Note: This response was edited for style.

Question: What are key considerations when trying new surgical technology in your practice?

Dr. Alok Sharan: First and foremost the surgeon has to think about safety. A lot of times there is a lot of enthusiasm for new technologies that surgeons want to try. I think it is important for surgeons to look at the data themselves and try to understand the research behind the new technology. 

Second, when you try a new technology I think it is important for surgeons to be hyper critical of their results and to track their outcomes to make sure that safety is not being compromised. Ideally you also want to make sure that the outcomes are better with the new technology.

The use of regional anesthesia and spine surgery, the awake spine surgery movement, is something that I’ve been working on now for the past six years. From the beginning we have tried to be diligent by collecting our data and outcomes to make sure that our results are better. We are at a point now where we are publishing our data and teaching others. Critical for me personally was to make sure that what we are doing is, No. 1, safe and, No. 2, an improvement based on the usual standard.

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