Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Predict Spine Surgery Success Likelihood

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

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Artificial intelligence and AI technology is all the rage these days. Chat-GPT is writing term papers and Nvidia stock is soaring, but artificial intelligence is also making waves in the medical world. Recently, researchers attempted to use machine learning technologies to more accurately predict patient recovery likelihood following lumbar spine surgery.

Researchers found that the new AI models outperform the old models, and being able to accurately predict surgical outcomes is very important when it comes to a treatment like back surgery. Patient outcomes can vary widely based on a number of different aspects of the patient’s disease and their physical and mental health, and AI prediction can possibly help take some of the guesswork out of a patient’s recovery expectations.

“By predicting the outcomes before surgery, we can help establish some expectations and help with early interventions and identify high risk factors,” said Ziqi Xu, a Ph. D. student and first author of the study.

AI Technology And Spine Surgery Recovery

Previous studies on surgical outcome prediction models relied on information collected once or twice from patients in the form of questionnaires, but the new AI model sought to incorporate more data points. Essentially, they combined data from wearable fitness trackers like Fitbits with patient surveys that assessed a person’s social and emotional states. This physical, social and emotional information was then used as the basis to develop a new machine learning technique.

With the new model, artificial intelligence learned to weigh the relatedness among the outcomes while also capturing differences from the data inputs, said Lu. When all of these data points are assessed, the AI model was able to more accurately predict a person’s recovery trajectory for postoperative pain interference and physical function compared to more static models.

The team plans to continue to fine tune their AI model so that predictions can become even more accurate and to further understand which types of factors can potentially be modified to improve long term recovery options after spine surgery.

AI will certainly drive healthcare forward in the coming years, and its ability to more accurately predict how a patient may respond to a certain procedure and recovery plan could help healthcare teams recommend the right course of care for their patients. We do everything in our power to understand all of the relevant factors that could influence a patient’s surgery success likelihood prior to moving forward with a procedure, but nothing goes perfectly 100 percent of the time in the medical world. If AI technology can improve on our current understanding and make surgery just that much safer for patients, it could help relieve an immense burden on patients and the healthcare system as a whole.

We’ll keep our eyes on artificial intelligence technology in the coming months and years, but in the meantime, if you want to put your faith in a doctor with thousands of successful surgeries under his belt, connect with Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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