• 'The numbers don't lie': Endoscopy to become more prominent among next generation of spine surgeons
  • Minnesota orthopedic group hit with $111M negligence verdict
  • Orthopedic patient's death highlights potential dangers of prior authorization
  • Spine surgeon killed in Oklahoma hospital shooting
  • Neurosurgeon accepted $3.3M in illegal payments to perform spine surgeries at hospital
  • Spine surgeon gets jail time for abusing patient during hospital visit
  • Providence to pay $22.7M to settle unnecessary spine surgery allegations
  • Texas spine surgeon defending himself from 'Dr. Death 2.0' allegations
  • 'They're on really thin ice': Why 1 insurer has drawn spine surgeons' ire
  • Orthopedic surgeon must face suit in patient's death
  • Spine surgeon 1 of 9 physician billionaires on Forbes' 2022 list
  • Connecticut hospital to appeal $12.5M verdict to family of patient who died after orthopedic surgery
  • 4 spine technologies that promised more than they delivered
  • Orthopedic surgeon's health system exit steeped in controversy
  • Terminated orthopedic surgeon contracts with another New York hospital
  • Texas spine surgeon sued by State Farm over 'unnecessary' procedures
  • 22 hospitals ranked top 25 orthopedic hospitals 3+ years in a row
  • Orthopedic surgeon convicted of battery at hospital
  • UArizona neurosurgery chair dies after motorcycle collision
  • America's largest independent practices by number of spine surgeons
  • Could Medtronic's spine business be the next medtech spinoff?
  • 41 'rising stars' in orthopedics
  • Idaho orthopedic surgeon arrested for alleged misconduct at practice
  • Neurosurgeon's startup hits $1.2B valuation
  • Orthopedic surgeon indicted in $10M telemedicine fraud scheme
  • Orthopedic surgeon salaries in the 5 best, worst states for healthcare
  • New Jersey hospital must pay neurosurgeons $24.3M, appeals court rules
  • Good news, bad news for orthopedic surgeons: 6 observations
  • Why private equity is bettering orthopedics, 3 physician leaders say
  • Florida hospital patients say they were injured during surgeries. Now a physician faces 350 lawsuits.
  • Texas spine surgeon's $11M verdict being appealed
  • A Rutgers physician accused of 'ghost surgeries' will return — but with fewer responsibilities
  • Top orthopedic hospital in every state: US News
  • Rothman Orthopaedics to become national brand, but no 'aspirations to go beyond US'
  • Sports medicine physician fired amid misconduct allegations involving patients
  • Orthopedic surgeon asking for misconduct charges to be dropped
  • Unnecessary spine cases spur class action lawsuit
  • Colorado Supreme Court rejects hospital's bid to enforce $229K spine surgery bill
  • Jury finds neurosurgeon largely responsible for paralysis, awards $15.5M in damages
  • Dr. Jon Yoon performs NHL's 4th disc replacement in 7 months
  • 4 spine technologies that promised more than they delivered

    4 spine technologies that promised more than they delivered

    Alan Condon -  

    Innovation moves at a rapid pace in spine surgery, but hype and marketing around new technologies can sometimes get in front of the science, resulting in less than optimal outcomes for patients and significant steps backward for the technology.

    Here are four spine technologies that surgeons argue promised more than they delivered:

    1. Robotics

    Robotics has been a buzz word in spine surgery for more than a decade, but current robotic systems on the market fall short of what robotic systems in other specialties such as general surgery, gynecology and urology can achieve.

    "I believe the robot promised more than it delivered in spine surgery," said Alok Sharan, MD, of NJ Spine and Wellness in East Brunswick, N.J. "In other fields of medicine ... there have been tremendous advancements in the use of robotic surgery. Initially, the spine community thought the same successes in those fields would apply to spine surgery. Due to a variety of reasons (capital costs, workflow issues, etc.), we have not seen a tremendous leap in adoption in robotic spine surgery."

    2. Laser spine surgery

    Many physicians believe laser spine surgery did not live up to the hype for treating spinal stenosis or herniated and ruptured spinal discs. A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found the risk associated with laser spine surgery outweighed the benefits, suggesting that lasers added potential thermal-based complications and could burn a patient's nerves, tissue and cartilage.

    "While laser technology promises precision in our ability to address spinal problems in the vast majority of the cases, it has failed to do this safely," said Ehsan Jazini, MD, of Reston-based Virginia Spine Institute. "Laser technology poses a risk due to the thermal collateral damage it imposes on the surrounding structures. Although laser technology has been used successfully in many industries, it has failed to live up to its hype for spine surgery and has little utility in our field. With the advancement in motion-preserving techniques, robotics and ultrasonic technologies, we can more effectively address structural spine conditions while preserving motion, which laser technology can't successfully address."

    3. PEEK rods

    Polyetheretherketone rods, touted by many device companies, were introduced in the mid-2000s as an alternative to titanium rods for posterior instrumented lumbar spinal fusion and aimed to reduce the risk of adjacent segment disease. However, clinical trials demonstrated that it failed to alleviate the adjacent level failure phenomena that many surgeons saw over time.

    "The five-year run (or so it seemed) saw mitigation of pain issues because of lessened surgical intervention but saw returns for the additional surgeries years later for related symptoms of failure or persistence," said Christian Zimmerman, MD, of Saint Alphonsus Medical Group and SAHS Neuroscience Institute in Boise, Idaho. "Although the fracture rate of the rods was rare, this also became a concern in the older populace. As interest waned, the healthcare industry, applicable economics and the evolution of forward-thinking spinal care remedied this issue with eventual phase-outs by most corporations."

    4. Interspinous and interlaminar devices

    Intervertebral distraction devices, which became popular around three years ago, have largely failed to live up to their hype, according to many surgeons. The devices were considered innovative technologies designed to treat spinal stenosis and were initially seen as less invasive options to spinal fusion or laminectomy.

    "However, the results of these techniques in practice have not always delivered on the promise of addressing symptoms of neurogenic pain," said Michael Goldsmith, MD, of the Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics in Bethesda, Md. "Spine surgeons — and the healthcare industry in general — can learn that we must still abide by the basic principles of decompression, and stabilization when necessary, to achieve our patients' goals."

    "A slew of these devices were put into patients with the promise of relief from spinal stenosis," according to Brian Gantwerker, MD, of the Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles. "I have [had] at least two spinous process fractures from these devices and have taken out at least one. I sincerely hope these devices will be retooled or removed from circulation altogether."

    Copyright © 2022 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.

    Featured Webinars

    Featured Podcast

    Featured Whitepapers