CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire)—This year, 1.6 million Americans will undergo spinal surgery for herniated discs, bone spurs and even conditions like stenosis. Now, details from one of the few surgeons in the country performing a new ultra- minimally invasive awake spine surgery that could have patients up and walking the same day.
Retiree Joe Deakin is no stranger to back pain, working over 30 years in construction.
“Lot of heavy lifting and climbing, it took a toll on me,” Deakin recalled.
With one spinal fusion and months of recovery already under his belt, Joe knew something was wrong when he felt a pop in his back last October. After an MRI revealed a herniated disc, spine surgery became Joe’s only option. But this time, Dr. Kern Singh offered Joe a new approach, endoscopic spine surgery or ESS.
Unlike hours- long traditional procedures that cut into the center of the back and through muscles, removing full sections of bone, ESS is a 30-minute outpatient procedure that uses a seven-millimeter camera inserted through an incision smaller than the center of a penny.
“And from inside you kind of roto rooter out the bone spurs, the disk bulges, and that way you don’t disrupt any of the muscle, any of the bone, any of the ligaments,” explained Kern Singh, MD, co-director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute and professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center.
ESS also has far less risk, as patients are not put under general anesthesia during the procedure.
“Which was kind of weird, normally you go in the operating room and they put you on the table. I went in and they said, ‘alright, climb on the table,” Deakin recalled.
“It’s immediate return to function as they walk out the door about an hour afterward,” Dr. Singh illustrated.
“It’s been wonderful, I mean two days after recovery my wife and I took a walk around the neighborhood,” Deakin shared.
The biggest risk in endoscopic spine surgery is that not enough tissue is taken out during the procedure. This is typically because many surgeons are not yet performing ESS or have very little experience with it. Dr. Singh stresses that patients should seek out surgeons actively practicing ESS on a routine basis to ensure the best outcomes.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Executive Producer; Sabrina Broadbent, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.