Minimally Invasive spine surgery is no longer an experimental technique. As research and publications continue to prove the effectiveness of MIS spinal procedures, an increasing number of surgeons have chosen to learn and practice the minimally invasive approach.
The patient benefits of minimally invasive surgeries are numerous. From a clinical standpoint, operating through a small incision minimizes blood loss, shortens hospital stays, reduces recovery periods, and lessens muscle and tissue disruption when compared to the traditional open procedures. This knowledge has become accepted not only among the medical community, but also among potential patients. Honing and performing minimally invasive spine surgeries not only prevents surgeons from lagging behind, but can also increase profitability.
The following points points from Becker Orthopedic Spine show the lucrative benefits of adding the MIS technique to your procedural repertoire.
1. Clinical improvements. There are many clinical reasons for performing minimally invasive spine procedures. “From a purely medical standpoint, minimally invasive is better for the patient,” says Dr. Massoud. Better clinical outcomes often lead to happier patients who return for services and recommend friends. Clinical benefits can include:
• Minimized blood loss;
• Less muscle and tissue disruption;
• Shortened hospital stays;
• Reduced recovery period.
2. Referral growth. Knowledge and ability of minimally invasive techniques allow you to perform cases at outpatient surgery centers, which can enhance your profitability. Once you are a partner with an ASC, or have permission to bring cases to the center, that can help you build referrals.
“Other partners of ASCs tend to have referral sources, such as related health care providers,” says Dr. Massoud. To jumpstart increasing patient volume for the practice, identify a high volume partner organization where spine procedures are not currently done. “That can help you build your practice,” says Dr. Massoud. “Plus they can benefit from the ASC membership.” Additionally, if you decide to be a partner at a surgery center you would be a stakeholder and could share in profits from the center.
3. Increases competitiveness. From a practice management standpoint, if you do not offer the latest in spine care you may not grow or remain competitive. According to Dr. Massoud, if you don’t offer the latest technology you will get left behind because people will go elsewhere.
“Frankly, it is important to do minimally invasive techniques to remain competitive,” says Dr. Massoud. Patients already research diseases and ailments on the Internet, so researching spine care and the benefits of minimally invasive techniques is not a stretch.
4. Elevates exposure. Minimally invasive techniques increase your exposure inside and outside your community. If you can build a level of expertise where you become a respected minimally invasive surgeon, you may become involved in a variety of activities that increase your exposure.
“You can receive a teaching affiliation which could really get your name out there. If potential patients research you and see you teach courses at a local university or medical school, and that you are instructing other physicians regularly, they would have more assurance that you are skilled in those techniques,” says Dr. Massoud. “That is how a teaching affiliation becomes valuable for patient referrals.”
5. Improves work balance. When you incorporate minimally invasive techniques into your practice, which increases your marketability to ASCs, many of your procedures may be moved to an outpatient setting. An outpatient setting, especially one in an ASC can dramatically improve your quality of life as a surgeon.
“When you are conducting outpatient surgery, you have more time for other things,” says Dr. Massoud. “You are out of the hospital, so your days are not full of hospital rounds.” Patients only stay in surgery centers for a few hours — so quality of life for surgeons improves personally and professionally. With the extra time, you could work on improving other areas of your practice, like additional training or the marketing and patient outreach of your center or practice to improve profitability.