Dec 5, 2013 2:01 PM by Keli Moore, KSBY News
For years, medical experts have searched for ways to alleviate lower back pain in the least invasive way. Today, a Central Coast doctor is doing just that.
"I don't know what they call it," said Mary Elizabeth Bishop, who lives in Lompoc.
Medical professionals call it stitchless back surgery or the "mild" procedure.
"But they put a hole in my back and went in and got all of the stuff out that was pressing on my spine out," said Bishop.
That stuff being the thickening of ligament tissue and excess bone. Over time it builds making the spinal canal narrower.
"There is pressure on the nerve and this causes numbness on the lower back and in both legs," explained Dr. Jashvant Patel, Cypress Surgery Center in Santa Maria.
This condition is lumbar spinal stenosis.
"Up until recently, to correct spinal stenosis we had to open up the spine and remove bone and ligament," said Dr. Patel.
The condition often makes daily life difficult.
"Always in pain, especially in my lower back, but since I had this surgery it has been marvelous," said Bishop.
Dr. Patel said it's not a surgery, but a non-invasive procedure that takes less than 30 minutes.
"We are making room so I can go inside the spinal canal and take out the ligament," said Dr. Patel.
The patient is awake and Dr. Patel goes into the spine through a hole the size of a baby aspirin. The anatomy of the spinal canal is not disturbed.
"We see patients stand up right who have not stood up right in 30 years," said Joshua Kaplan, Director of Sales for Vertos Medical, the company that manufactures the device for the surgery.
"In a few hours I felt like a new woman and it's like the pain just melted away," said Bishop.
The stitchless spinal procedure has been around for a few years. To date, more than 14,000 cases have been completed. Dr. Patel has performed the procedure on at least 50 patients since last March.
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