Becker’s Spine Review Editor Laura Miller sits down with Dr. Anthony Yeung to discusses his decision to support the new spine center at the University of New Mexico and where he sees the spine field headed in the future.
A Maverick Spine Surgeon’s Quest to Develop Minimally Invasive Technique & How He’s Passing It to the Next Generation: Q&A With Dr. Anthony Yeung
Written by Laura Miller
This past March, Anthony Yeung, MD, founder of Desert Institute for Spine Care in Phoenix, and his wife Eileen, announced they would donate $2.5 million to develop a comprehensive spine center at his alma mater, the University of New Mexico. The new center will allow him to continue his work in endoscopic laser spine surgery as a professor of spine surgery at the University and pass his techniques on to the next generation of spine surgeons.
Dr. Yeung developed and received FDA approval for the Yeung Endoscopic Spine System in the 1990s, and has continued to evolve, develop, and successfully perform the technique as an outpatient procedure. Now, he will work with Howard Yonas, MD, chairman of the department of neurosurgery at the University of New Mexico to develop the spine center there.
“Currently, many of the new innovative procedures are being done in private practice and in outpatient facilities because the surgeon can perform procedures more efficiently and cost effectively there,” says Dr. Yeung. “In spite of having a lot of success with this experience, the head winds are against us because the insurance companies and health plans are doing what they can to deny authorization for many spinal procedures, which they consider costly. Just showing they are beneficial for the patient and efficient for pain relief is not enough. I realized we need to bring minimally invasive surgeries into the mainstream, since a lot of new minimally invasive techniques are not born out of academic centers and teaching universities, but out of entrepreneurial, successful, surgical spine practices. They develop these techniques for their patients and for their successful practice.”
Dr. Yeung discusses his decision to support the new spine center at the University of New Mexico and where he sees the spine field headed in the future.