Alexander Taghva, MD, of Orange County Neurosurgical Associates in Mission Viejo, Calif., discusses where he sees the biggest impact of spine technology going forward.
Question: What emerging technology or technique do you think will have the biggest impact on the spine field five years from now?
Dr. Alexander Taghva: I think further advancements in surgical navigation and robotics are very promising. Newer minimally invasive methods, such as endoscopic surgery, and neuromodulation techniques such as spinal cord stimulation will shape the field, especially as we move more traditionally hospital-based surgery to outpatient settings.
Q: What do you think will fade or disappear from the spine field over the next few years?
AT: I think large, morbid open operations for the spine will become less and less common as minimally invasive and navigation-based techniques become more powerful.
Q: Where do you see the biggest room for innovation in spine? What do you need to provide better care that doesn't currently exist?
AT: The current area for biggest innovation I believe is still in providing devices and techniques more suitable for outpatient surgery. With the advent of more advanced surgical robotics, we may be able to do surgeries with high accuracy and minimal morbidity in safer, more cost-effective settings. The tools are currently present to provide high-level outpatient care. What we currently need is for insurers and CMS to modify the payment structures [for] physicians and facilities to reward them for high-quality care versus bigger surgeries.
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