Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 10, 2019
Medical science is always advancing, and we’ve made huge strides in just the past few years when it comes to improving surgical procedures and providing the best care possible for our patients. And while we’ve come a long way, it’s exciting to think about what the future of spine surgery has in store. So what exactly can we expect five, 10 or 20 years down the road? Below, we look into our crystal ball and see what the future has in store for spine surgeons and their patients.
The Future of Spine Surgery
After consulting with other experts and looking at some industry trends, here’s what we might be able to expect in the coming decades as it pertains to spine surgery.
- An Aging Population – Obviously as time goes on, people are going to get older, but this is especially true as the large Baby Boomer generation reaches their golden years. Boomers were born between the mid 1940’s and mid 1960’s which means they’ll be around 70-90 years old when 2030 arrives. While the older of the bunch may not be an ideal candidate for surgery, the younger patients certainly may lead to an influx of spinal operations. Even if surgery isn’t on the table, we can expect a larger portion of the population to deal with back pain and pursue conservative treatments like physical therapy or corticosteroid injections. In other words, spine specialists should expect to be busy.
- Better Individualized Care – Technology will continue to drive healthcare in the coming years, and as computer algorithms and data collection improves, so will our ability to provide care to each patient. Symptoms will be able to be quickly cross-referenced against health conditions while factoring in family and personalized medical history, and a treatment plan will be able to be developed in minutes. The more we continue to learn about health conditions, the better we will be able to serve our patients.
- Telemedicine – We’re starting to see the beginning of telemedicine, but we expect the technology to take off in the not so distant future. Instead of setting up an appointment or heading to the emergency room, a larger portion of patients will be able to connect with a physician on a phone, tablet or laptop. Care for certain conditions will be streamlined, which will help the patient be seen quicker and have faster access to antibiotics or medications. People will still be seen in office for physical exams and in-person diagnostic testing, but certain medical conditions will be evaluated electronically through an app.
- Robotic Surgery – Robotic surgery will also likely become more common across the globe as it can help eliminate human error. Although a human is still controlling the robot, robotic surgery can help eliminate human errors, like accidentally striking a nerve surgery, and it can also help to ensure surgical hardware is being inserted at precisely the right angle to stabilize the site and promote healing. Robot-guided surgery will become more readily available as the technology improves and prices eventually make it accessible to more clinics.
It’s impossible to know exactly what spine surgery will look like in the future, but we’re excited to see how it will play out. Surgical techniques and spine treatments should only get better as we learn more about the body and how to best care for each individual patient. If you want help with a spine issue right now or years down the road, keep Dr. Sinicropi and the team at Midwest Spine & Brain Institute in mind.