Payers will realize value of endoscopic spine surgery, says Dr. Brandon Hirsch


The widespread adoption of endoscopic spine surgery in the U.S. has been stunted by a lack of training and inadequate reimbursement. 

As spine surgery continues to accelerate toward the outpatient setting, minimally invasive specialists expect payers to recognize the benefits of endoscopic spine surgery and more adequately reimburse for the procedure.

Question: What is on the cutting edge of outpatient spine technology today, and why?

Brandon Hirsch, MD. The CORE Institute (Mesa, Ariz.): I believe spinal endoscopy will play a large role in the future of outpatient spine surgery. While patients with spinal deformities will likely continue to receive inpatient care due to the complexity of their treatment, many of the treatments for common degenerative conditions will continue to migrate to lower-cost care settings. Endoscopic visualization and instruments have become highly advanced and, in many cases, allow for targeted treatment of stenosis on an ambulatory basis. While reimbursement has historically lagged on these procedures, I believe payers will eventually realize its value and align incentives appropriately.

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