Challenges in Spinal Endoscopy

Ibrahim Hussain, Anthony T. Yeung, Michael Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advent of any new technology or technique is fraught with challenges in the early stages of development and adoption. This situation is no different for spinal endoscopy, which has been continuously developing for decades and has only recently gained significant traction in North America. Patient selection can be challenging for even expert endoscopic surgeons, given the limited abilities of current technology for patients with multilevel disease. Anatomic limitations, such as iliac crest location and small foraminal dimensions, can restrict application of the transforaminal approach, considered the “workhorse” of endoscopic techniques. A paucity of dedicated training opportunities has led many to become late adopters or preclude exposure entirely, limiting the next generation of surgeons and expansion of the field. Finally, economic constraints, including capital expenses and issues with insurance reimbursement, have generated difficulties to widespread acquisition. Nonetheless, the future is bright for spinal endoscopy, with potential solutions to these issues already generating progress. In the present report, we have summarized these challenges and discussed some of the current steps underway to help alleviate their impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-137
Number of pages6
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Endoscopic spine surgery
  • Patient selection
  • Spinal endoscopy
  • Surgical economics
  • Surgical training
  • Transiliac

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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