Surgical Navigation Penetration in Neuro and Spine: Claims Analysis and Implications for Industry

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Surgical navigation has made inroads into neuro and spine surgeries, but adoption rates vary widely among these specialties, and also among facility sizes. While evidence clearly supports navigation’s ability to improve accuracy of these procedures, that advantage has a greater impact on clinical outcomes in neurosurgery than on spine surgeries. By Brandon Wade and Ally Ostrow, Health Advances.

Surgical navigation is one of several computer-assisted surgery technologies that have gained traction since the 1990s across numerous disciplines, including spine surgery and intracranial neurosurgery (Mezger et al., 2013, Langenbeck’s Archives of Surgery). Many potential benefits are related to its use, including improved accuracy impacting surgical outcomes, increased physician comfort/confidence, and reduced radiation exposure. However, despite its advantages, it poses costs to the healthcare provider (e.g., up-front capital, learning curve leading to longer operating room times), often without securing additional reimbursement. The variation in costs versus benefits across procedure types and practice levels has led to a wide range in procedural penetration and facility adoption in the US.

Companies evaluating which procedures and clinical situations would benefit from navigation, therefore, must understand the nuances and value propositions driving market penetration.


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