BRADENTON, Fla. — Pain management specialist Dr. Gennady Gekht with Coastal Orthopedics recently performed the first two cases of minimally invasive indirect decompression surgery in Manatee County to help relieve spinal stenosis.
Through the use of indirect decompression surgery, Dr. Gekht, with the assistance of fellow pain management specialists Dr. Douglas Constant and Dr. Justin Sirianni, was able to help reverse the effects of spinal stenosis for two of his patients.
Characterized by the narrowing of the spine, spinal stenosis is a degenerative condition that frequently affects the elderly population. Spinal stenosis is often caused by changes to the spine related to osteoarthritis, resulting in significant lower back and leg pain when standing and walking due to additional pressure placed on the spinal nerves.
While Dr. Gekht has been doing pain management procedures for the past 12 years, minimally invasive indirect decompression procedures are relatively new. The Superion Interspinous Spacer was commercialized in July 2016. More than 100 doctors are trained nationally on the procedure, including 20 in Florida. Coastal Orthopedics is the only medical group in Manatee County and the surrounding area that performs this particular procedure.
“It gives options to patients who didn’t have any before,” said Dr. Gekht. “If it wasn’t for this procedure, some patients would simply have to continue living with the pain either because they choose not to have a large surgery or are just medically too sick to have a conventional surgery.”
During the new, state-of-the-art procedure, Dr. Gekht made a small incision, roughly the size of a dime, in the patient’s back and implanted a Superion Interspinous Spacer, a minimally invasive lumbar decompression device designed to relieve chronic pain caused by spinal stenosis, between the spinous process — often referred to as the backbone of the spine.
Once in place between the bones, the Superion Interspinous Spacer is opened up, gradually holding the two backbones apart and allowing for decompression of the spinal canal by acting as a support column.
“With lumbar spinal stenosis, the nerve is getting compressed and pinched,” said Nick Villarreal, West Florida territory manager for Vertiflex, the company that created the Superion Interspinous Spacer. “The Superion device gives room or space in the spine, so the nerve can breathe. It’s like a doorstop that holds the spine open.”
By reducing the compression on the spinal nerves, the hope is that patients not only experience pain relief but can also return to a more active lifestyle.
“The majority of patients feel better almost immediately,” said Dr. Gekht. “Some of the patients will feel sore from the procedure itself, but the original reasons for their pain and discomfort go away almost immediately.”
Both patients, who are in their 70s, had an extensive history of back pain when walking. For different health reasons, however, each had opted out of an extensive conventional surgery. Minimally invasive decompression surgery takes between 30 minutes to an hour to perform, depending on severity, and after 30-45 minutes of post- operative care patients are able to go home.
“This procedure just adds to the options,” said Dr. Gekht. “It doesn’t taking anything away.”
About Coastal Orthopedics
Founded in 1973 and based in Bradenton, Fla., Coastal Orthopedics is home to 18 orthopedic surgeons and pain management physicians who maintain hospital affiliations with Blake Medical Center, Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. In addition to three offices and two ambulatory surgery centers each serving Florida’s West Coast, Coastal Orthopedics’ board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians and surgeons provide patients with the very latest in pain and orthopedic treatment technology. The company strives to repair and heal injuries relating to the entire musculoskeletal system. For more than 40 years, our highly skilled staff of physicians and surgeons has treated patients in specialty care including sports medicine, joint replacement, pain management and rehabilitation. Patients can experience restoration of function both surgically and non-surgically through the use of physician-guided strengthening, therapy, medications, injections and stretching. For more information, please visit CoastalOrthopedics.com or call 941-792-1404.