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What's next for awake spine surgery? 3 predictions

By Admin | April 25, 2022

Awake spine surgery avoids general anesthesia and intubation and uses a local anesthetic to let surgeons examine a patient's neurologic condition during surgery.

Benefits of awake spine surgery include faster recoveries, improved pain control and reduced postoperative nausea. It also eliminates the need to use intravenous narcotics and reduces the cost of stay. Only a handful of spine surgeons are currently performing the technique in the U.S.

Three of those surgeons discussed how awake spine surgery will evolve in the coming years:

Note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity.

Vijay Yanamadala, MD. Hartford (Conn.) Healthcare: I think that 10 years from now we're going to see awake spine surgery being done in the majority of cases. Patients will demand it. I think payers will also push in that direction, and we as surgeons will come to see its benefits, too — not only for our patients, but for our processes and ourselves. As it becomes more popular, the processes will be developed, and it will be smoother for broader adoption. 

Ernest Braxton, MD. Vail (Colo.) Summit Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery: I see it becoming more commonplace as patients demand a better experience with surgery, in the same way that we have seen regional anesthesia become very commonplace with total knee and total hip replacement surgery.

My mom recently had her knee replaced. It was performed with similar regional anesthesia blocks and a spinal anesthetic. She was awake for the operation, and she went home the same day after surgery. I have been applying this technique in my surgeries, and other surgeons around the country have adopted regional anesthesia for...(More)

For more info please read, What's next for awake spine surgery? 3 predictions, by Becker's Spine Review

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