Although what qualifies as complex spine surgery will stay the same, how it's performed will change in the near future, according to Vladimir Sinkov, MD.
Dr. Sinkov, of Sinkov Spine in Las Vegas, spoke with Becker's about the evolution of complex spine surgery.
Note: This response was lightly edited for clarity.
Question: How will the definition of complex spine surgery evolve in 5 years?
Dr. Vladimir Sinkov: While there is no strict definition for "complex spine surgery," most spine surgeons define it as a procedure that is more complicated, longer and with higher risks than the majority of spine operations we perform. Complex spine surgery typically involves ore than three levels, unusual patient anatomy, need to revise prior spine surgery and significantly higher risks of complications such as nerve damage, bleeding, fracture, damage to surrounding organs and higher rate of failure.
That part of the definition of complex spine surgery will likely remain the same. What I expect to change in the next five years is that the surgeons will utilize more minimally invasive techniques, intraoperative computer navigation (including augmented reality), intraoperative neuromonitoring and robotic assistance techniques to achieve their complex spine surgery goals with more efficiency, more safety for the patient and less radiation exposure.