Regenerative medicine will be mainstream in 10 years, says spine CEO

New technologies and procedures are often met with pushback initially.

Thomas Schuler, MD, founder and CEO of the Virginia Spine Institute in Reston, joined "Becker's ASC Review Podcast" to talk about how the adoption of interventional medicine could change in the near future.

Note: This is an edited excerpt. Listen to the full podcast episode here.

Question: Over the next five years, what do you think will be different in the physician practice landscape, and what do you think will be the same? 

Dr. Thomas Schuler: When you look back over medicine at things that have stood the test of time, X-rays have been around over a hundred years, and yet they're still essential. If you break an arm, you get a cast put on it to get the bone to heal, and you use the body's own biology to heal. Casting has been around for over a hundred years.

What's really exciting about the future is we're using people's own biology to heal. What I mean is, we're using regenerative medicine to heal injured discs, injured ligaments and restore people back to function without surgery, using their own biology. 

There's a lot of naysayers who feel regenerative medicine hasn't been proven, but we've been doing this for over a decade and seen unbelievable change in how we manage patients. 

We don't want to do a five-level fusion to treat back pain, but we do regenerative medicine where we take their marrow, concentrate it down, inject it into their disc, and now they're back skiing and golfing and doing everything. 

So I believe that over the next five to 10 years, the rest of the medical community will finally wake up and understand what an unbelievable improvement it is to use the patient's own biology, not an off-the-shelf product.

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