How 4 physicians envision orthopedic surgery in 2031

Carly Behm -  

From a breakup within the specialty to growing robot-assisted procedures, here are the predictions of what orthopedic surgery will look like in the next decade from four surgeons.

Ask Orthopedic Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to orthopedic surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting orthopedic care. We invite all orthopedic surgeon and specialist responses.

Next week's question: What factors will best help an independent orthopedic practice thrive?

Please send responses to Carly Behm at by 5 p.m. CDT Tuesday, Sept. 14.

Note: Responses were edited for style.

Question: What will orthopedic surgery look like 10 years from now?

Eric Grossman, MD. A surgeon at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute (New York City): We are in the early stages of widespread technological advancements that will continue to improve outcomes and decision-making for orthopedic surgeons in both planning and real time. Robotics will continue to develop more sophisticated platforms, and with the addition of artificial intelligence and improved imaging, further enhance robotic accuracy and capability. We will also continue to see material advancements leading to improved durability and longevity of orthopedic constructs.

Robert Peinert, Jr., MD. An orthopedic surgeon in Harlingen, Texas: I expect to see the beginning of the breakup of orthopedics into an operative speciality as it currently is, and a medical speciality in which the thrust will be in gene therapy and tissue manipulation.

Ammar Saymeh, DPM. Director of foot and ankle medicine at NJ Spine and Wellness (Freehold, N.J.): The technology behind surgical implants within the orthopedic field will continue to adapt and evolve over the next 10 years. As we focus our attention to improving patient outcomes, it is without a doubt among the most vital aspects of biomedical engineering research in our time. These implants continue to be improved year after year. The goal for both patient and surgeon alike are less revisions and overall increased longevity of the implant. When we hone in on the total ankle arthroplasty, for example, we find a dramatic increase in usage and success rates as the technology behind the implant continues to improve.

Jason Snibbe, MD. A surgeon at Snibbe Orthopedics (Los Angeles): Ten years from now all joint replacement will be done robotically. The implants will have a chip in them to monitor patients' range of motion, strength and activity. We will also be able to measure porous ingrowth digitally.

In arthroscopic surgery, the scopes and instruments will become smaller. There will be less tissue damage and faster recovery.

The use of biologics and supplements will transform recovery. We will use preoperative testing to determine what biologics works best for the patient. We will use diet and supplements for every surgical patient to optimize the recovery.

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