9 roadblocks to minimally invasive spine surgery adoption

Written by Laura Dyrda | September 26, 2014 | Print  |

Minimally invasive spine surgery is becoming more common in spinal practices. There are studies showing clinical benefits and long-term cost savings when compared with open procedures.

But not everyone is jumping onboard with the less invasive techniques. According to a Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery report from 2011, here are nine top barriers to minimally invasive spine surgery adoption:


1. Expense: 22 percent. New instrumentation and device for less invasive procedures come at a hefty cost.


2. Radiation exposure: 21 percent. Some minimally invasive spine surgery systems require guidance that has exposes surgeons to high levels of radiation. However, other companies are working on systems that significantly reduce radiation exposure.


3. Training: 15 percent. It takes significant time and effort to become proficient in new minimally invasive techniques. Surgeons with established practices have a hard time leaving their practices for education.


4. Insurance blockage: 13 percent. Insurance companies sometimes deny coverage for less invasive techniques or certain device systems.


5. Technical difficulty: 13 percent. The new systems may have technical difficulties, especially when surgeons are just beginning to use the technology.


6. Instrumentation: 7 percent. Instrumentation adds cost to procedures.


7. Lack of efficiency: 6 percent. When first adopted, the new minimally invasive techniques often take longer in the operating room. However, some surgeons are finding with experience they are able to reduce procedure times.


8. Patient demand: 2 percent. Patients demand different types of procedures.


9. Medical-legal risk: 1 percent.


More articles on spine surgery:
11 spine & neurosurgeons making headlines this week
Leading the charge in minimally invasive spine surgery—How one institution is paving the way
Revision neural decompression, fusion: 5 points on long-term outcomes

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