The spine technology trends on the horizon: 3 Qs with Dr. Harel Deutsch

Written by Laura Dyrda | October 10, 2018 | Print  |

Harel Deutsch, MD, is co-director of the Rush Spine Center at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. His practice focuses on spinal procedures, with a particular research interest in motion preservation.

Dr. Deutsch is a featured speaker at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + The Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference, June 13-15 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register. For more information about exhibitor and sponsor opportunities, contact Maura Jodoin at

Here, Dr. Deutsch discusses the big technology trends in spine today and where he sees the field headed.

Question: Which orthopedic device trends and technologies do you see making the biggest impact long term? What do you think is just a fad?

Dr. Harel Deutsch: Some of the current trends in the market involve materials. The surface of the implants and the affinity of the implant to bone based on microscopic surface features is a new trend. 3-D printed devices are another technology that is evolving. Some devices can now be made for significantly less cost and therefore there are more innovative product design possibilities.

Finally, value-added services, such as navigation and robotics, are used as a hook to get surgeons to use specific devices. The orthopedic devices are built in to integrate with a system such as a robotic system. Some areas in orthopedic devices that I see as fads or at least as possibly declining in popularity are lateral interbody fusions and sacroiliac bone fusions.

Q. How do you ensure you're staying on the cutting-edge of your surgical practice while also being mindful of achieving value-based outcomes for your patients?

HD: Cutting-edge is not always value-based but some cutting-edge practices have the goal of reducing surgery morbidity, length of stay and downtime, and therefore are strongly value-based to the healthcare system. My goal is to remain inquisitive and evaluate objectively new technology as it comes out and find the right application for patients. The natural tendency for surgeons is to feel what they are doing works and therefore they are skeptical of new ideas and innovation.

Q: What is your best advice for young entrepreneurial surgeons with an idea to improve implants, instruments or technology used to improve the care of orthopedic patients?

HD: I think it's difficult to introduce a new device that will cost more to do the same procedure. This is especially true since many institutions have formulary pricing. Devices that reduce costs are easier to sell to institutions. Often companies will come out with what they market as improved products. The companies have anecdotal clinical data but the cost-effective data is not there to justify higher device prices.

Learn more about the biggest trends in spine surgery at the Becker's 17th Annual Future of Spine + Spine, Orthopedic & Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference - click here for registration.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Laura Dyrda at

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