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BackTable / VI / Podcast / Episode #340

Awake Spine Surgery

with Dr. Alok Sharan

In this episode, Dr. Jacob Fleming interviews Dr. Alok Sharan about low back awake spinal surgery. This innovative approach offers patients a more pleasant surgical experience compared to traditional surgery under general anesthesia. Not only does it provide better patient outcomes, but it also reduces the need for opioid pain medication and allows for improved mobility after the procedure.

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Awake Spine Surgery with Dr. Alok Sharan on the BackTable VI Podcast)
Ep 340 Awake Spine Surgery with Dr. Alok Sharan
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, July 5). Ep. 340 – Awake Spine Surgery [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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Podcast Contributors

Dr. Alok Sharan discusses Awake Spine Surgery on the BackTable 340 Podcast

Dr. Alok Sharan

Dr. Alok Sharan is the president of Spine and Performance Institute in Edison, New Jersey.

Dr. Jacob Fleming discusses Awake Spine Surgery on the BackTable 340 Podcast

Dr. Jacob Fleming

Dr. Jacob Fleming is a diagnostic radiology resident and future MSK interventional radiologist in Dallas, Texas.


Dr. Sharan began his career in academic medicine at Montefiore, where he gained valuable experience in caring for individuals with severe back problems requiring spine surgery. During his time at Montefiore, Dr. Sharan recognized the changing landscape of healthcare and decided to pursue a healthcare MBA. This unique combination of medical expertise and business knowledge led him to transition to private practice.

Dr. Sharan explains that awake spinal surgery offers several benefits for patients undergoing spine procedures. It enables patients to mobilize and recover from surgery more quickly, leading to faster overall recovery times and decreased risk of delirium. Additionally, patients have the opportunity to return home on the same day as the surgery, promoting a more convenient and comfortable experience. Awake spinal surgery also helps reduce the reliance on narcotics for pain management, with patients typically only needing narcotics for around four days compared to the usual four to six weeks with surgeries performed under general anesthesia. Due to the improvement in patient outcomes and the tremendous cost-efficiency of the procedure, awake spinal surgery is an appealing option for individuals requiring spinal fusions and other procedures.

Dr. Sharan's entrepreneurial drive has led him to create a comprehensive preoperative education program. His patients are provided with virtual reality headsets to simulate and experience the day of surgery and the actual surgical procedure. The aim is to alleviate any fears or anxieties the patients may have prior to undergoing surgery by immersing them in a realistic virtual environment. This approach helps to prepare patients mentally and emotionally, ensuring a smoother and more comfortable surgical experience. Dr. Sharan is now sharing his techniques with surgeons around the world and anticipates this technique being implemented in many fields in the future.


Disclaimer: The Materials available on are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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