What makes spine surgeons apprehensive about the future?

Written by Anuja Vaidya | November 07, 2014 | Print  |


Three spine surgeons discuss their concerns regarding the future of spine surgery and the industry.

Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care. We invite all spine surgeon and specialist responses. Next week's question: What is the future of biologics in spine surgery?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya at avaidya@beckershealthcare.com by Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m. CST.


Neel Anand

Question: What are your biggest concerns regarding the future of spine surgery?


Neel Anand, MD, Clinical Professor of Surgery, Director, Spine Trauma, Cedars-Sinai Spine Center, Los Angeles: As long as we keep doing what is right for the patients, I am not concerned. The future is bright. However, insurance company regulations have to be kept in check for the advancement of science. Otherwise no advancements will take place in the industry.


William Taylor, Director, Spine Surgery, Vice Chairman, Division of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Diego: I'm concerned about the lack of our success in changing the perception of the general population regarding modern spine surgery and the idea that it is a "last resort" procedure.


Brian GantwerkerBrian R. Gantwerker, MD, The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles: Two main concerns are related to the drastic transformation of healthcare in the United States. Firstly, the changing philosophy of how doctors are paid and under-valued. The obvious concern is diminishing reimbursement for increasingly sick patients and not being able to afford increasing overhead. I fear the net effect will be a parallel medical system for those that can afford private doctors and those that cannot. I only hope the quality is still affordable for our patients.  


My other concern is the stifling of innovation. If there is no incentive for the device companies to make better, safer and more effective products, the market engine will stagnate and clinically, I think, we will not evolve or get better at what we do.


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Spinal disability: 5 findings on associated physical & psychological issues
The 2014 pro athlete spine injury lineup: 6 spine surgeons who performed the surgeries
Magnetic vs. traditional growing rods for scoliosis: Which is better?



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