3 thoughts on practical endoscopic spine surgery training and privileges


A new article published in the Journal of Spine examines trends in training for endoscopic spine surgery, which requires surgical and interventional skill sets to perform appropriately.

Dr. Yeung is a featured speaker at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + The Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, June 13-15 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at mjodoin@beckershealthcare.com.

Clinicians from both the surgical and interventional backgrounds have incorporated endoscopic spine surgery into their practices, which has created a problem.

"There are now physicians providing surgical care who have not had formal spine surgical training," the article's authors wrote. "Some interventional spine practitioners are able to offer safe and effective endoscopic spine surgery, but training standards and practice standards are necessary for the field to progress."

With Anthony Yeung, MD, as the lead author, this article provides suggestions for a pragmatic approach to training and credentialing interventional spine physicians to perform endoscopic spine surgery. At Albuquerque-based University of New Mexico, Dr. Yeung and Howard Yonas, MD, created a fellowship program to instruct in endoscopic spine surgery.

"There has been a progressive increase in the interest among spine providers from many fields [in endoscopic spine surgery]," the article states. "Unfortunately, the lack of structured training opportunities, a challenging learning curve and commercial pressures have limited the number of truly experienced endoscopic spine surgeons."

Three proposals in the piece include requiring endoscopic spine surgeons to:

1. Gain both technical and clinical expertise through adequate training programs.

2. Undergo a peer review for technical proficiency and expertise.

3. Manage complications or develop a relationship with other providers to assist in complication management.

"More invasive spine surgery will be required for many patients with varying spine conditions, but a rational staged approach to treatment including non-operative and endoscopic options when appropriate is in the best interest of patients and spine providers," the authors wrote.

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