'2020 and 2021 will likely be viewed as a turning point': What we heard this week


From the progression of outpatient spine surgery to how artificial disc replacement will compete with spinal fusion, here are quotes from four surgeons that caught the attention of Becker's readers this week:

1. "Spine surgeons will look back at the number of fusions that were performed and how debilitating and often restrictive this type of surgery was for a patient's health," — Todd Lanman, MD, of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Lanman Spinal Neurosurgery and ADR Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center, on how spine surgery will progress in the next decade.

"As artificial disc replacements and motion preservation surgery continue to develop, these will become the mainstays of treatment in the future. Fusions will become very limited in their usage, mostly reserved for severely arthritic degenerative or scoliotic spines, but not for the general cases of patients that need spine care. Most of these patients can be treated using artificial disc replacements."

2. "They're time consuming, expensive, inaccurate and they don't know what they're shooting," — Richard Berger, MD, of Chicago-based Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, on the drawbacks of current surgical robots.

"For the inexperienced surgeon, it may help them. But for the majority of surgeons, it's actually making them worse. But eventually that technology is going to be better. It's going to be quick, easy and inexpensive. Most importantly, it's going to be very accurate. When that happens, I think it's going to get adopted by everyone."

3. "The years 2020 and 2021 will likely be viewed as a turning point," — Ali H. Mesiwala, MD, of DISC Sports & Spine Center in Newport Beach, Calif., on the migration of spine surgeries to the outpatient setting.

"For the decade or two prior to this, limited centers existed which specialized in spine surgery, and many surgeons and medical device companies did not feel comfortable performing these operations in the outpatient setting."

4. "Probably the most important feature of future spine robots is the concept of universality," — Ernest Braxton, MD, of Vail (Colo.) Summit Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery, on how spine robots can advance beyond the placement of pedicle screws.

"They must be able to perform a wide variety of procedures and ideally be agnostic to the manufacturer of the implant. To be commonplace, they must be useful in all areas of spine surgery, not just pedicle screw placement. I think that they have a similar pathway that the operating microscope had in the 1980s and 1990s."

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