Ask Spine Surgeons is a weekly series of questions posed by Beckers Spine Review to spine surgeons around the country about clinical, business and policy issues affecting spine care! Check out Dr. Kube’s answer to this weeks question, below!
Question: What are some strategies spine surgeons can employ to fight the opioid crisis?
Richard Kube, MD. Founder and CEO of Prairie Spine & Pain Institute (Peoria, Ill.): I believe that we as surgeons would do well to practice disease management rather than simply spine surgery. As specialists, we are in a unique position to assume control of the treatment process and hence the pharmaceutical treatment. If we manage the whole patient and not just the surgical component — that includes chronic follow-up for those with untreatable/nonsurgical conditions — we can curtail the usage of controlled substances. Additionally, for those patients who want to delay invasive treatment, we are poised to step in and offer an appropriate curative option when needed in lieu of simply adding more pills.