What Was the Most Important Development in Spine Surgery for 2011?


Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question is: What is your number one concern as a spine surgeon heading into 2012? Please send responses to Laura Miller at laura@beckershealthcare.com by Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 5pm CST. Limit responses to five sentences or less.

Q: What do you consider the most important development in spine surgery that occurred in 2011?

Dennis Crandall, MD (Medical Director, Sonoran Spine Center, Mesa, Ariz.):
The emergence of Milliman Care Guidelines as the ironclad standard for the indications for spine surgery for insurance companies, and the pushback (finally!) by the societies against North Carolina BCBS for using Milliman. The Societies are finally speaking up on behalf of our patients.

Ara Deukmedjian, MD (Founder, Deuk Spine Institute, Melbourne, Fla.):
Insurers took control of spine surgery away from doctors and patients in an unprecedented scale and scope.

J. Brian Gill, MD (Spine Surgeon, Nebraska Spine Center, Omaha):
The research on BMP usage and the possibility of tainted research. This has altered my use of BMP where I am using alternative bone graft extenders/enhancers along with iliac crest bone graft.

Michael Gleiber, MD (Founder, Michael A. Gleiber, MD, PA, Jupiter, Fla.):
Osteobiologics and motion preservation surgery and minimally invasive surgical options.

Brian Subach, MD (Director of Research and Spine Surgeon, Virginia Spine Institute, Reston):
We are finally investigating the power of immature stem cells to develop regenerative therapies for the spine. The use of such pluripotential cells holds great promise in disc and cartilage regeneration.

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