Bronson offers new technology for easier back surgery

Brian Cotton of Battle Creek says he couldn't move before he was referred to Bronson Neuroscience Center. He was in unbearable pain. He had undergone back surgery eight years ago to remove disc fragments in his lower back. Eventually the pain came back. His right foot was numb and simply dropped when he tried to walk.
He is back to work and back to his life after undergoing lumbar fusion surgery using the O-arm imaging system--a new technology that can help make complex and minimally invasive spine surgery safer. 
The procedure Cotton's doctors used reduces pain by eliminating motion at the affected area of the spine and freeing the nerve that was compressed. By adding a bone graft "starter" to the problem joint, his doctor, neurosurgeon Gregory Wiggins, set up a biological response for Cotton’s body to grow new bone. This bone helped fuse the two vertebrae and stop motion--and pain--in that location.
Bronson Methodist Hospital is the first in southwest Michigan to acquire the O-arm imaging system. The minimally invasive procedures it assists with benefit patients who suffer from conditions such as herniated discs, scoliosis, sciatica, and other spinal deformities. 
Smaller incisions result in less pain, faster recovery, and decreased chance of infections and other complications. O-arm’s imaging system helps surgeons by showing them exactly where they are in the body during an operation without having to make large cuts and move around tissue. 
The O-arm is a large, doughnut-shaped, CT scanning machine. It rotates around a patient’s body to capture conventional, 2-D images of the spine. In less than 30 seconds, the system transforms those 2-D images into 360-degree 3-D views seen on large, flat-screen monitors. The improved view shows surgeons the exact location of their medical instruments in relation to patient’s body, and helps to accurately guide them to place screws and other hardware. Doctors using the new technology can see inside the patient before we even begin, accomplish exactly what they need, and do so in the least invasive way. 
"This technology has been amazingly helpful with more complex and delicate procedures like spinal fusions and scoliosis treatment," says Dr. Wiggins. "We can pinpoint exactly where we need to go before we make the first incision and navigate more confidently during the procedure. That’s a big deal when you’re working around the spinal cord."
Writer: Kathy Jennings, Second Wave Media
Source: Candice Elders, Bronson Methodist Hospital
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