6 Spine Surgeons on Most Exciting Technology for the Future


Here are six spine surgeons discussing the biggest opportunities for growth in the spine field. 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: What concerns about the future of spine surgery keep you awake at night?

Please send responses to Laura Miller at laura@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, Sept. 12, at 5 p.m. CST.

Q: What technology are you most excited about for your practice in the coming year?

Dennis Crandall, MD, Founder and Medical Director of Sonoran Spine Center, Mesa, Ariz.: Low-stress constructs that are more friendly to bone in the aging spine. Low-stress techniques for deformity correction as well as fusionless scoliosis correction.

Walter Eckman, MD, Founder, Aurora Spine Center, Tupelu, Miss.: Newer imaging methods to evaluate instability.

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD, Spine Surgeon, The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Integration and use of the iPad in demonstrating anatomy, reviewing films and surgical techniques for patients.

Hooman Melamed, MD, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Marina Del Rey (Calif.) Hospital:
- Stem cell research to repair and heal ruptured disc herniation and for patients who have degenerative disc disease has made recent progress, we hope will have even more clinical evidence regarding its efficacy in the next year or two.

- Other nonsurgical modalities such as the Regenokine injections in which Los Angeles Lakers’ star Kobe Bryant had in his knee can potentially have a role in patients with facet pain. In fact, it may even have a more longer-lasting effect than epidural injections. More information should be available by next year.

- Artificial disc replacement and other motion sparing technology are becoming more used in helping younger patients with degenerative disc disease and more clinical data should be available by next year.

Richard Kube, MD, Founder & CEO, Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Peoria, Ill.: We are interested in the potential for stem cells to change the natural course of degenerative disc disease. We have been looking at adult mesenchymal stem cells as well as amniotic tissue for use. Both are demonstrating some early positive results, and if long term results are successful, this could be a real game changer.

Paul Slosar, MD, President, SpineCare Medical Group, San Francisco Spine Institute: I am excited to see how well patients continue to do with minimally invasive spinal surgeries. Outpatient spinal surgery is growing and my patients are very satisfied when they can be discharged on the same day of a surgery. It is also a huge cost savings for patients and insurance carriers.

More Articles on Spine Surgery:
How to Keep Costs Down: 3 Spine Surgeons on Their Tactics
7 Spine Surgeons on Biggest Opportunities for Growth in Spinal Surgery
7 Spine Surgeons on Cash-Pay Options

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