Monday, January 15, 2007
Medical Reports: Stop the Suffering
Tonight, new hope for millions of people suffering from a common spine problem that causes severe back and leg pain. Instead of major back surgery, doctors are now using a small device to stop the suffering.
WSVN -- It was like sitting at a permanent stop sign.
For Fred Fazio, a pain in his leg caused his life to come to a screeching halt for six months.
Fred Fazio: "It started off as a cramp in the back of my leg, then went on to be excruciating pain."
The pain was so bad he could not take walks with the love of his life or play the other love of his life, golf.
Fred Fazio: "I became incapacitated. I couldn't play golf, obviously, or practice. I couldn't walk in the morning or exercise at all."
Fred was suffering from spinal stenosis, a common degenerative condition where the spine narrows and puts pressure on the nerves, causing severe back and leg pain.
Dr. Robert Lins: "The nerves are being squeezed because the joint just doesn't leave enough room for the nerve, so they get pinched."
When non-surgical treatments didn't help, Fred decided to try a new FDA-approved procedure called X-Stop, to X-out the pain.
Doctors open the lower back and place this little titanium spacer between the bones of the spine to create more room for the nerves.
Dr. Robert Lins: "What we're doing internally is 'jacking up' the spine very slightly to elevate it between the two vertebrae segments. By doing that, it takes the pressure off the nerve roots."
The surgery is non-invasive, so patients can go home that same day.
And their recovery is quick compared to spine surgeries in the past where recovery could take up to nine months.
Dr. Robert Lins: "They're back to being active as early as six weeks after surgery. If anything, we have to tie patients down."
Fred amazed his doctors, he never even needed this walker.
He was moving again on his own in less than a month.
Fred Fazio: "The surgery definitely gave me back my life. I'm pain-free now."
Of course that meant heading straight to the golf course where there's no stopping him now.
Craig Stevens: "X-Stop isn't for everyone. People with back fractures or patients who've had multiple lower back surgeries are not candidates."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Robert Lins