In the next decade, spine surgeons will move further toward a multidisciplinary approach to care, with robotics becoming the standard of care for instrumentation placement, fewer fusions being performed and more total disc replacements.
Here’s what spine surgery in 2030 will look like, according to eight spine surgeons:
Question: How will surgeons in 2030 look back at how spine care is performed today?
Todd Lanman, MD. Lanman Spinal Neurosurgery and ADR Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center (Beverly Hills, Calif.): In the next nine years, I think that spine surgeons will look back at the number of fusions that were performed and how debilitating and often restrictive this type of surgery was for a patient’s health.
As artificial disc replacements and motion preservation surgery continue to develop, these will become the mainstays of treatment in the future. Fusions will become very limited in their usage, mostly reserved for severely arthritic degenerative or scoliotic spines, but not for the general cases of patients that need spine care. Most of these patients can be treated using artificial disc replacements. As we are finding out now, the indications for artificial disc replacements are being expanded greatly.
For example, patients that are believed to have arthritic joints once required a fusion, but this is indeed not true, particularly in the cervical spine where most patients who have somewhat arthritic facet joints in the can undergo artificial disc replacements with certain discs that help unload or offload the facet joints, lessen facet pain and keep mobility and function.