The strength and flexibility of the spine is central to quality of life, but age, disease and degeneration take their toll. Nearly eight of every 10 people will experience back problems. Historically, back treatments have focused on controlling pain. Today, when conservative, nonoperative therapies fail, advances in spine surgery offer improved options not only to control pain but also to improve post-operative recovery and preserve patient mobility.
Glenn R. Buttermann, M.D., M.S., F.A.A.O.S., of Midwest Spine & Brain Institute, has been at the forefront of back pain research, motion preservation techniques and surgical device development. He sat down with MD News Minnesota to discuss the history of spine surgery, treatment advances for maintaining function, and the significance of recent FDA approvals of new, multilevel total disc replacement techniques for the cervical spine.
Innovation Motion Preservation Therapy
"My training and practice in both childhood and adult deformities sensitized me to motion preservation issues," Dr. Buttermann explains. "Most fellowships focus on primary spine problems; I was fortunate to have an orthopedic residency and fellowship geared toward revision surgery, during which I was introduced to complex adjacent segment and transitional problems under the mentorship of brilliant orthopedic minds such as David Bradford, M.D., and James Ogilvie, M.D. I learned an approach emphasizing patient mobility. Instead of fusing the entire spine of scoliosis patients, I was taught to fuse only the apical segments of a curvature, leaving the levels above and below mobile. This approach preserved the best quality of life for the patient."
Dr. Buttermann performs about 300 surgeries a year, using devices and techniques he helped develop.
To read the full article online, click here.
To read the PDF version, click the attachment below.