The Latest Procedure Options Available at Spine Institute Northwest (SINW)

pain treatmentDr. Sol Kamson and the surgical team at Spine Institute Northwest place their primary focus on minimally invasive endoscopy guided procedures. Some patients, however, may not qualify for these traditionally non-invasive techniques, leading the SINW to expand their expertise in the field of spine surgery.

If you or a loved one requires pain relief from vertebrae-related conditions, but you’ve been told that traditional minimally invasive endoscopy guided procedures are not recommended in this particular case, it’s good to know that the Spine Institute Northwest literally has your back. We now offer alternative surgeries to treat pain, symptoms of weakness, and other issues affiliated with spinal disease.

One of the latest options to treat pain caused by bulging or ruptured discs in the cervical spine is called Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF). In this instance, Dr. Kamson makes a small incision at the front of the neck. He is then able to remove the damaged disc to decompress the spinal cord and nerve root. A spinal fusion is then performed in order to make the surrounding vertebrae more stable. Next, Dr. Sol Kamson inserts an implant to replace the degenerated or ruptured disc, stabilizing it with a tiny titanium plate, after which regenerative therapy is applied. Regenerative treatment is done during the surgery, using stem cell autografts and allografts to increase healing time and improve fusion rates.

Sometimes a patient will suffer a vertebral compression fracture, often caused by osteoporosis or an acute injury, such as a fall. A minimally invasive procedure, percutaneous vertebroplasty, can be used to stabilize and strengthen the collapsed vertebra. In this case, a small portion of medical-grade acrylic cement is injected into the vertebra using a flexible needle. Sol Kamson can gain access to the entire vertebra with just a tiny incision to deliver the cement directly to the fracture.

An even more recent development in vertebroplasty is now offered at the Spine Institute Northwest to treat deformities of the spine due to vertebrae fracture. VBA, or percutaneous vertebral body augmentation, also called kyphoplasty, uses a balloon type of device to make space in the vertebrae. This space is then filled with a medical grade cement to relieve pain and stabilize the spine. Regional anesthesia coupled with intravenous sedation can be used during this procedure.

These exciting options for minimally invasive treatments to relieve chronic pain brings hope for a new lease on life for those who thought they could not find relief without having to endure open back surgery. Discover if one of these procedures can be helpful to you by calling the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA today.

New Discoveries with Herniated Discs

An award-winning paper published in the health journal Spine has recently raised many questions about just how herniated discs occur. This study that was done by Dr. Rajasekaran and colleagues from the Hanga Hospital in India has been named the winner of the 2013 prize for Lumbar Spine Research through the Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine.

This study concludes that herniated discs that occur in the lower spine are most often a result of the connecting tissue of the spine and disc separating. Traditionally the cause of herniated discs has always been believed to be caused by the disc rupturing. The results of this study suggest that spinal surgeons should pay more attention to failure with the vertebral end plate junction, and it’s attachment with the discs and spine.

For this study 181 patients were involved who were to have surgery performed due to a herniated lumbar disc. Also known as ruptured discs, this is an all too common cause of lower back pain. The pain is caused when the gel like substance inside the disc leaks out through the tough exterior of the outer disc. The data with these studies included; CT and MRI scans, microscopic studies, x-rays, and surgical observations. Patients that were excluded from this study were those who suffered from a disease that affected multiple discs and patients over 60.

The results for this study found that with 65 percent of the cases, the end plate junction had tore off, also referred to as avulsion. This made avulsion become the most common cause for lumbar disc herniation. These cases found that cartilage and/or a part of the bone that connects the vertebrae to the disc had broken off. Surprisingly with the 181 patients involved, only eleven percent of the cases had the traditional rupture of the outer shell.

Occasionally an avulsion was not able to be seen by x-ray, but it was visible at the time of surgery, and is generally able to be seen with a CT scan. With some cases the avulsion healed itself between the time of the injury to when the surgery was to be performed. However, in some cases narrowing of the spinal canal (known as spinal stenosis), was found to be present. Researchers in this study believe that these failures with an end plate junction have been underrated due to the difficulty of documenting the issues.

In many of these cases there did not seem to be a definite traumatic injury before the herniated disc symptoms appeared, which leads researchers to believe that the process of the herniated disc may take several months to take effect after a fracture. This study has opened the door to develop possible biological and repair strategies, as well as ways to prevent the progression of disc herniation after an initial avulsion. In other words, they may have found a window of time to use some sort of treatment to possibly prevent any more damage being done to the discs.