Robotic image guidance is the next 'big thing' in spine surgery – Dr. Richard Chua discusses what's to come


Richard Chua, MD, is a spine surgeon at Northwest NeuroSpecialists in Tucson, Ariz. As a pioneer in minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Chua shared his thoughts on emerging technology within the spine industry.

Dr. Chua 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.


Question: What new technologies and concepts are emerging within spine?


Dr. Richard Chua: I believe there will be continued growth in the application of minimally invasive spine surgical techniques, including improvements in implant technology, biologics, instrumentation and biomechanical considerations. In addition, the move towards outpatient spine surgical services may continue to

grow as reimbursement and payers demand more efficient, reduced cost and resource utilization. Lastly, I believe that the integration of image guidance and robotics will be the next big thing in spine surgery over the next five to 10 years. The ability to improve accuracy of instrumentation placement, reduce X-ray

exposure to the patient, surgeon and staff as well as the ability to more efficiently correct deformities will result as the robotics, engineering and surgeon adoption become more feasible.


Q: What are the best ways for practices, hospitals and health systems to begin integrating new technologies into their routines?


RC: Having an open mind about new and emerging technologies has been a challenge with all of us. But, keeping in mind what may be in the best interest of the patient, even if it requires learning new techniques, thinking out-of-the-box or taking some risks, will likely result in advancing the care that we provide, so

that it doesn't always become so 'routine'. However, adopting new and emerging technologies does come at some expense, capital, initial learning curve and early inefficiencies as well as anticipated complications.


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