Â Â Â She's been putting it off for more than a decade. But at 6AM 43-year old Stacey Hermann arrives for back surgery.Â
"It's horrible pain and constant. That's the worst part. Constant pain," says Stacey Hermann.
Â Â Â At 7:40, doctors begin a radically different type of spine surgery. Instead of "opening up" her back, they'll work through a small incision beside her tailbone so no muscles or nerves are cut... allowing a faster recovery, with less pain.Â More than two hundred x-rays are done. Each time the surgeon moves any of his tools, ever so slightly, inside Stacey... an x-ray is taken to ensure he's in exactly the right place.Â The total radiation for this is less than a CT scan.
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Â Â Â Working on the lowest part of Stacey's spine, surgeons remove the center of the diseased disc. They then replace it with bone growth material. With aÂ small incision in her back, they add screws that fuse the space.Â It's now 8:50. The surgery is over after a little more than an hour. It's about a third the time of a conventional spine fusion surgery.Â
"This is going to get a patient better faster. In the sense that it will get them through the trauma of surgery more rapidly," says Dr. Roy Vingan.
Â Â Â At 11:30... less than three hours after the operation, Stacey takes her first steps.Â This new procedure has been FDA approved for fusing the bottom two discs of the spine. And it does carry risks.Â (Dr. Robert Isaacs) (Duke Univ. Medical Center)
"Colon perforation would be the most serious complication that we can see with this. It's less than one percent of the time," says Dr. Robert Isaacs with the Duke Univeristy Medical Center.
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Â Â Â To Stacey, the benefits outweighed that risk. What normally requires a hospital stay of several days after surgery, can now be reduced to six hours.Â It's now 2 o'clock. And Stacey... is going home.Â
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