Spine surgery continues to transition to outpatient setting — Dr. Christopher Summa answers 3 Qs

Christopher Summa, MD, is a spine surgeon at Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Sutter Health. An experienced surgeon, Dr. Summa highlights his excitements in spine surgery and its transition to the outpatient setting.

Question: What are you most excited about in spine surgery? What is the biggest challenge spine surgeons will need to overcome?

Dr. Christopher Summa: I am most excited about the combination of minimally invasive surgeries utilizing rapid low-profile 3D fluoroscopic imaging combined with additional prediction/correction software that allows for continually improving patient outcomes as well as significantly decreased radiation exposure for the patient and surgical team.

Q: How has the introduction to robotic surgery changed the field?

CS: Robotics have allowed for a reduction in soft tissue disruption, improved instrumentation accuracy and the reduction in radiation exposure for all in the operating room.

Q: Do you foresee more spine surgeries transferring to the outpatient setting?

CS: I do believe that more and more spine surgeries will move to the outpatient setting. Numerous studies already show improved outcomes as well as reduced complications in those patients treated in the outpatient setting. This environment requires us surgeons to not only focus on appropriate patient selection, but also efficient surgical procedures. Additionally, increasing numbers of patients themselves are requesting minimally outpatient spinal surgeries that they can return home the same day from.

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