Andrew Hecht, MD, chief of spine surgery at New York City-based Mount Sinai Health System sees promise in motion preservation and robotics in the spine field.
He spoke about this and other spine trends he's watching on a May 11 episode of "Becker's Spine and Orthopedic Podcast."
Listen to the full podcast here.
Note: This response was edited for clarity and length.
Question: What are the top three most interesting trends you're seeing in the spine field today?
Dr. Andrew Hecht: I think there are a lot of really exciting things on the horizon for spine surgery. One is a re-exploration of the concepts of motion preservation across a variety of different indications for spine surgery. We're seeing surgeons starting to gravitate towards utilizing motion preservation. For example, in a recent multicenter trial for myelopathy, to everyone's surprise and excitement, cervical laminoplasty outperformed cervical laminectomy and fusion and multi-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in a randomized prospective trial. So that theme of motion preservation that you could accomplish the goals of surgery, which is to decompress the spine and reduce pain and preserve function, in a way that preserves motion.
The other things we're really excited about are things like increasing use of minimally invasive surgery. A lot of it minimally invasive surgery has often been almost almost used as a marketing term rather than an actual reality. But I think as we start to understand it better and start to utilize it better for the proper indications, I think it's having an increasing role.
And I think lastly, other trends are the use of more sophisticated technology to make spine surgery safer such as navigation and robotics that have also been making their way into our field with increasing frequency. I've been someone who's used image guided tools for many, many years. I'm glad to see these things starting to permeate for the use of these complex imaging tools to use in routine surgery, as well as for complex surgery, whether it be to confirm the placement of implants that they're in good position before you leave the operating room to placing the implants themselves, be a navigation or with robotic assistance.