3 key insights on spine implant material and innovations from Dr. Todd Lansford

Laura Dyrda -   Print  |

Todd Lansford, MD, a spine surgeon with South Carolina Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, discusses the key trends in spinal technology and implant innovations today.


Question: What is the biggest spine technology trend for 2018?

Dr. Todd Lansford: The biggest technology trend would certainly be robotics. There is an increasing demand for this with better incorporation of biplaner c-arm with 3-D navigation. This demand will sky-rocket once the robotic use spreads beyond navigation and into procedural assistance. Using the robot for not only screw placement but facetectomy and decompression will be key.

Q: Where do you see the biggest innovations in implant material?

TL: The biggest innovations in implant material would certainly be the low modulus titanium. For so long we have avoided metal for implants due to subsidence risk. Companies now have developed titanium/tritanium with lower modulus of elasticity. This allows for all the benefits of titanium — fusion potential, in growth and bacterial resistance — without the risks.

Q: Where do you see biologics and stem cells in spine headed for 2018 and beyond?

TL: Biologics are the biggest question in my mind. There are new developments in stem cell/amniotic tissue; however, I see hospitals and insurance companies limiting their usage. What brings even more uncertainty are the advancements in implant material. Due to improved interactions with bone, biologics may be less critical.

Stem cells are actively being studied independently for their use as intradiscal injections. This is promising for the rescue of early degenerative processes. We will see how this progresses.


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