The power of 3-D navigation in MIS spine surgery


Michael J. Musacchio Jr., MD, spine surgeon at Glenview, Ill.-based NorthShore University HealthSystem's Neurological Institute and clinical assistant professor at University of Chicago, discussed how spine surgeons can thrive in healthcare moving forward and key innovations advancing the spine field.

Dr. Musacchio will be speaking at the Becker's 16th Annual Future of Spine + The Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference. To learn more and register, click here. Contact Maura Jodoin at or Kristelle Khazzaka at for further information about sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities.

Question: How can spine surgeons today keep pace with the many changes unfolding in the healthcare industry?


Dr. Michael Musacchio: For spine surgeons to keep pace with the rapid changes in healthcare, they must learn minimally invasive surgery and navigation techniques. Patients expect to have minimal scarring, shorter recovery times and smaller incisions to minimize muscle damage around the spine. Having a command of computer-assisted navigation and image-guided techniques is essential to advance MIS.


Spine surgeons also need to be cost conscious of implants. It is an important part of the patient quality care equation. Good relationships with hospitals and industry suppliers are crucial. Surgeons also need to document surgical indications and treatment rationale clearly to avoid insurance denials and delays.


Lastly, surgeons need to stay up with the spine literature and attend meetings to ensure they are delivering the best evidence-based care to their patients.


Q: What major innovations have changed the spine field and where will spine surgery trend within the next five years?


MM: Technology is the game changer for spine surgeons and their patients, especially 3-D capabilities. A paradigm shift is in play; 3-D navigation has improved accuracy and safety of screw placement and the overall procedure. It has further advanced minimally invasive techniques and it reduces, if not eliminates, redo surgeries for screw misplacement.


Robotics has better enabled the integration of 3-D navigation through software to aid in deformity correction. Deformity correction technologies include pre-op planning software, intra-operative assist devices, rod benders and more.


Over the next five years, we will see a full conversion to 3-D navigation in spine surgery, further simplifying procedures, and that will mostly benefit patients in need of correcting deformities.


Meanwhile, 3-D printing and custom implants are providing a better fit for patients, resulting in potential cost reductions.


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