Spine surgery becoming 'ultra-minimally invasive'

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The "minimally invasive" trend has skyrocketed in orthopedics over the last few years, with more procedures moving to the ASC setting and robotic options allowing for minimally invasive joint replacements, and spine surgery is starting to follow suit. 

Spine procedures like the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion procedure for lumbar spine surgery are just starting to be permitted in the ASC setting by some providers. 

Minimally invasive spine surgery, though still in its infancy, will be able to provide patients with better clinical outcomes and faster rehabilitation times. 

"I think spine surgery is still in its infancy much like how hip arthroplasty was 50 years ago, and patients will continue to have better outcomes and faster recoveries as our understanding of spinal pathology evolves and our surgical tools become more advanced," Tan Chen, MD, told Becker's.    

Marion, Ill.-based orthopedic spine surgeon and pain management specialist Amit Bhandarkar, MD, told Becker's that for 2023 and 2024, his key focuses have been on artificial intelligence and more minimally invasive spine treatment techniques. 

Question: What are you most proud of from the last year? 

Dr. Amit Bhandarkar: My continued journey towards ultra-minimally invasive spine surgery and integrating pain [management] in spine practice. 

Q: What are the biggest trends you're following in healthcare right now? 

AB: The endoscopic expandable TLIF with good biologics. 

Q: What are you excited about for 2024? 

AB: The possibility for artificial intelligence to give patient-specific solutions, which can be more applicable in daily practice.

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