Tailbone Spine Surgery - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Tailbone Spine Surgery

Have a bad back that needs fusion surgery? The good news is there are new techniques that are easier on patients. Even more good news, Vince Sherry reports the technology is just getting off the ground.

Maureen Hassett says low back pain from a worn out disc made every day household chores unbearable.

"It got to the point where I had to use my feet to pick up laundry and I couldn't put things in the oven and I couldn't bend over." says Maureen.

When conservative therapies failed, her doctor recommended spinal fusion...but not the usual 2 to 12 hour procedure.

Dr. Roy Vingan, M.D. "We now have a way of doing this with x-ray guidance in a procedure that can take as short as 50, 55 minutes."

Instead of going through a large incision in the front or back of the body, surgeons can now reach the spine through a small incision near the tailbone.

"We're really not going through major muscles. We are not stretching these tissues in any significant way." says the doctor.

Less damage to tissues means less pain for the patient.

"I remember being out for many hours and waking up and immediately feeling 100% better. Immediately." says Maureen.

Once restricted to the lowest discs, the procedure now works further up the spine. And that's just the beginning.

Dr. Vingan says "Ultimately, this may allow us to do disc replacement."

Because fusion can limit flexibility, the company that developed the tailbone surgery is working on a more natural disc implant to preserve motion.

"It will be allowing us to deliver something that is a rubberized or silicone-like material that can be injected in, cured probably over 8 to 10 minutes to the point that it's a more rubbery and thick consistency and really turn the disc back in time to more of what it should be like."

It's revolutionary technology that's getting closer and closer to getting bad backs back to normal. This is Vince Sherry reporting.

Trans-1, the company involved, has just starged humane trials on the new disc replacement in Europe. For more information, go to www.trans1.com.

80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives.
In 2005, more than 4.3 million patients visited physician offices for spinal disc problems.
More than 325,000 spinal fusions were performed in 2005.
With AxiaLIF®, surgeons can perform spinal fusion through a tiny incision over the tailbone.
For more details, refer to our comprehensive research summary.

Online Reporter: Ashley Gatz

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