Written by Megan Wood
Neurosurgeon Mick Perez-Cruet, MD, of Southfield-based Michigan Head & Spine Institute, offers his insight on minimally invasive spine surgery, value-based care and what the future holds for outpatient spine.
Question: What are the opportunities and challenges in MIS spine today?
Dr. Mick Perez-Cruet: I think the biggest opportunity is patients’ desire for these MIS spinal procedures. Patients seek out surgeons who know how to apply them effectively and proficiently. They are often concerned about having spine surgery, yet they want to eliminate their painful symptoms and disability while recovering quickly and returning to a fully functional active lifestyle. MIS procedures provide these opportunities to our patients. Patients are also looking for MIS procedures that don’t lead to multiple re-do operations.
The biggest challenge is the transition from traditional spine surgery to minimally invasive approaches. The technology has to catch up to provide the opportunity for surgeons who are not familiar with these techniques to perform them safely, effectively and proficiently. Surgeon-led technology development can help make this a reality.
I think another big challenge is the understanding of the pathophysiology of spinal disorders. Don’t treat the X-ray, treat the underlying problem, or underlying pathophysiology, causing the individual patient’s symptoms. Patient spine care should not be focused on making the X-ray look good, but rather try to make the patient feel great and return to an active lifestyle. This is a challenge that will require a better understanding of spinal disorders so that clinician can provide focused cost-effective MIS spine care that results in long-term excellent patient outcomes.
Q: How does MIS spine surgery fit into value-based care?