Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 17, 2020
Medical innovation seems to be increasing at an exponential rate, which is great for both patient and provider. However, it also makes it a little more difficult to predict where we’ll be in the future because we’re advancing at such a fast rate. Based on our experiences and reading some articles on the subject, it’s clear that spinal professionals expect a few major innovations in the field of spine surgery over the next decade. We highlight those expected changes below.
The Next Decade Of Spine Care
When it comes to predicting where spine surgery will be in 2030, some common themes we’re hearing about include:
- Robotics – Robotic surgery is already pretty common in some of the biggest health systems, but the technology should be able to be greatly improved over the course of the next decade. Moreover, as history has shown us, as the technology becomes more familiar, the price tends to drop. Radios and laptops were hundreds or thousands of dollars when they first came on the market, and now you can get a quality version of either for a very reasonable price. It seems likely that not only will we see improving robotic technology in spine surgery, but it will become more affordable in the next decade, making it more accessible to a wider provider and patient base.
- 3D Innovation – Again, we’ve seen bits and pieces of this recently, but it should really take off in the next decade. We are able to use technology to provide a 3D rendering of the object being imaged, be it a bone spur or a spinal tumor. We can build on this in the next decade with more 3D technology like printing and visualization. Instead of just being able to see the spinal tumor on a screen in 3D, it will become more common for doctors to 3D print that rendered tumor so the surgeon can get an even better understanding of the object before surgery. They can even practice on the printed object itself. 3D technologies will allow surgeons to plan, execute and validate a spinal operation before the patient even walks in the door for surgery, which should only increase patient outcomes.
- Tools and Hardware – Another area that is expected to improve over the next decade is when it comes to hardware and surgical tools. If we look at knees and hips as an example, joints are now lasting much longer than before, greatly reducing the likelihood that someone will need a secondary replacement operation. When applied to spinal surgery, we can expect more durable products to hit the market, making it easier for us to ensure that one surgery is all a patient will need to find relief. When it comes to surgical tools, we’re also developing new technologies that can help reduce tissue damage or unnecessary bone removal. When these tools are used in combination with robotic technologies that can be programmed in movements smaller than a millimeter, we can expect to reduce collateral damage that sometimes occurs during a complex spinal procedure.
Nobody knows exactly where we’ll be a decade from now when it comes to spine surgery, but there’s optimism that both patients and providers will be better off. To learn more, or to have your spine examined by a specialist, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.