As navigation and robotic assistance rise in spine, Dr. Mitchell Levine sees other interventions fading


Mitchell Levine, MD, chief of spinal neurosurgery at New York City-based Lenox Hill Hospital, examines the big opportunities in the spine technology field for the next several years.

Question: What emerging technology or technique do you think will have the biggest impact on the spine field five years from now?

Dr. Mitchell Levine: Navigation and robotic-assisted techniques will become standard. The technology is constantly evolving and is more user friendly.

Q: What do you think will fade or disappear from the spine field over the next few years?

ML: Interventions for focal back pain and neck pain without neurological involvement are going to trend down. Insurance companies are tightening their criteria for approving fusion surgeries and evidence-based care will be standard. This increased scrutiny on efficacy will be brought to bear on all aspects of spine care, including pain management and physical therapy as well. The overuse of epidural steroids and ablative procedures in spinal stenosis treatment is already being evaluated.

Q: Where do you see the biggest room for innovation in spine?

ML: Innovations in the evaluation of degenerative spinal deformity and systems which minimize adjacent level effects will be forthcoming. As our understanding of the biomechanical consequences of deformity correction increases, newer instrumentation will be developed to minimize these effects.

Additionally, preoperative planning and imaging will be easier to accomplish, as will intraoperative imaging. To improve care to all patients the operating room of the future needs to have imaging, analysis and display capabilities so all team members can see and understand all aspects of the procedure, including the preoperative imaging, the surgical correction plan and real time 3D visualization of the surgery for everyone in the room.

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For a deeper dive into the future of spine, attend the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC in Chicago, June 13-5, 2019. Click here to learn more and register.

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