BRISTOL – Patients who have been unable to find relief from chronic back and leg pain now have an alternative to fusion surgery thanks to a new procedure available at Bristol Regional Medical Center.
The Dynesys Spinal System uses spacers and tension bands that are screwed into the vertebrae to relieve pressure on the nerves that cause back and leg pain. Dr. Morgan Lorio, a board-certified surgeon with Neuro-Spine Solutions in Bristol, is one of just 20 surgeons in the nation selected to launch the new technology.
Dr. Lorio and Dr. Victor Freund, a neurosurgeon with Neuro-Spine Solutions, successfully implanted the new device for the first time in March, the first such surgery in Tennessee. The patient, a 49-year-old man, was able to get relief from his back pain without undergoing spinal fusion, a complex surgery in which vertebrae are fused together.
Unlike fusion surgery, the Dynesys system preserves the natural anatomy of the spine by using metal screws and flexible connecting pieces to limit movement and add strength to the spine.
“This helps protect the surrounding discs and joints from increased stress, which also decreases the stress on the injured disc and joints,” Dr. Lorio said.
Chronic back pain in the lumbar region, caused by problems with the intervertebral discs, is usually given noninvasive treatment for as long as possible. When such treatment no longer provides relief, the primary solution until now has been removal of the affected discs and fusion of the vertebral segments. It is estimated that nearly 400,000 people in the United States undergo fusion procedures each year.
The new Dynesys system offers patients an alternative to fusion surgery, resulting in a shorter recovery time and increased mobility.
“This is a significant advancement in the treatment of chronic back pain,” Dr. Lorio said.