The future of spine: 5 key advances to watch + 2 major breakthroughs


Hazem Eltahawy, MD, is a neurosurgeon at St. Mary Mercy Livonia. In a recent interview, he shared trend for spine surgeons and the developments of biologics.

Dr. Eltahawy 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 are some of the main advancements spine surgery has seen over the past 5 years?


Dr. Hazem Eltahawy: The main advances are:


• Continued attention to optimizing global spinal balance during fusion surgery

• Increased awareness of value-driven decisions and collection of outcomes measures

• Better definition of indications of fusion

• Increase in minimally invasive surgical approaches for deformity correction, including direct and oblique lateral approaches

• More comfort in use of disc arthroplasty in cervical spine surgery


Q: What does the future look like for spine surgery? How can surgeons prepare for the future?


HE: The main surgical breakthroughs will be in the increase integration of image guided navigated surgery and robotic assisted surgery not just in pedicle screw insertion, but also in planning osteotomies and spinal lamincectomies. The more significant breakthrough, however, will likely take place in biological disc

and joint repair. Simple biological therapy with stem cells, gene therapy or growth factors will finally make its way to therapeutics at bed side. However, it is likely the spinal surgeon will still be needed to deliver such intradiscal therapy and also provide mechanical stabilization for the motion segment during the health

and regeneration of the disc space.


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