'On the brink of transformative change': What's next for the spine device market

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Innovation has grown in the spine device market, and many companies are looking toward more minimally invasive and motion preserving options. Five spine surgeons discuss their expectations for the spine medtech market in the near future.

Note: Responses were edited for clarity.

Question: How will the spine device market evolve in five years?

Brian Gantwerker, MD. The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: The device market will evolve further into motion preservation and endoscopy. While we have seen growth in robotics, it has not expanded as rapidly as the other two. The use of AR will increase but its awkwardness in the operating rooms remains a barrier to adoption. I am hoping other adjuncts to surgery, such as ultrasound and EM navigation will increase in prevalence to allow real time improvement of surgical outcomes.

Arya Shamie, MD. UCLA Health: I foresee the spine device market undergoing significant evolution over the next five years, driven by advancements in technology, patient-centric approaches, and surgical techniques. The landscape of spine surgery continues to evolve, with a growing emphasis on minimally invasive procedures, personalized implants, and enhanced patient outcomes.

One of the key trends shaping the future of the spine device market is the continued refinement of minimally invasive techniques. Patients and surgeons alike are increasingly seeking procedures that offer shorter recovery times, reduced risk of complications, and improved overall outcomes. As a result, we anticipate a surge in demand for innovative minimally invasive spine devices that enable precise interventions while minimizing tissue damage.

The rise of personalized medicine is poised to revolutionize the spine device market. From customizable implants tailored to individual patient anatomy to advanced imaging technologies guiding surgical planning, personalized approaches are becoming increasingly integral to successful spine interventions. By leveraging data-driven insights and cutting-edge technologies, surgeons can optimize patient care and achieve superior clinical outcomes.

Another significant driver of change in the spine device market is the integration of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) into surgical workflows. These technologies hold immense potential to enhance the precision, efficiency, and safety of spine surgeries. From robotic-assisted navigation systems to AI-powered predictive analytics, surgeons will have access to powerful tools that streamline procedures and optimize patient care.

As healthcare systems globally strive to contain costs and improve efficiency, we anticipate a growing emphasis on value-based care in the spine device market. Manufacturers will need to prioritize the development of cost-effective solutions that deliver superior clinical outcomes and enhance patient satisfaction. This shift towards value-driven healthcare will shape product innovation, market dynamics, and strategic partnerships in the spine device sector.

I believe the spine device market is on the brink of transformative change, driven by technological innovation, personalized medicine, and value-based care. As a spine surgeon, I am excited to witness the evolution of this dynamic field and remain committed to advancing patient care through cutting-edge technologies and evidence-based practices.

William Taylor, MD. University of California San Diego Health: My hope would be that we could continue to see novel and groundbreaking treatments developed. However, constraints around approvals that exist at individual hospital levels along with the federal government continues to make this both time-consuming and expensive. I continued to believe that the interdiscal market for local treatments that include both hybrid, and medical treatments will expand

Vijay Yanamadala, MD. Hartford (Conn.) HealthCare: In a market where the device has increasingly become a commodity (a screw is a screw at the end of the day, a plate is a plate, and a cage is a cage), and surgical outcomes are largely a function of how the surgeon uses these tools, device companies will have to increasingly differentiate on how they deliver service to the surgeon and to the hospital. The sales rep who can be an effective coordinator will be the one who wins. And the company that establishes that culture with their reps will be the one who wins. I have worked with reps who have my surgery down to a science, who take notes, and can then replicate that process every time, working closely with my nurses, surgical technologists, and other staff in the OR to make it happen. I have also had reps that I need to remind from surgery to surgery what I need and who may need to get critical equipment that is not in the room. When our hospital staff is increasingly stretched thin, short staffing and travelers are increasingly prevalent, having a rep that acts as the glue in the room is critical. This is all to say, spine device companies will increasingly see their roles as service providers that also supply the instrumentation and devices. The service aspect will become the key differentiator in five years even more than it is today.

Christian Zimmerman, MD. St. Alphonsus Medical Group and SAHS Neuroscience Institute (Boise, Idaho): With most healthcare institutions and both federally/state funded programs under financial duress, the answer to this question is dubious. In our institution and healthcare system, cost containment and the run-away burdens of implant companies 'bill of business' is front and center for immediate change. Biomedical materials management has been tasked at paring the most expensive companies from expansive vendor lists of dozens to single digit medical device providers. This is long overdue since the range of costs of similar/identical hardware in both cervical and lumbar spine implantables, can exceed three hundred percent. These are all upfront, pre-insurance costs to the system and the patient.

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