Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Dr. Light performs the first spinal fusion reversal in the U.S.

Dr. Light recently performed the first spinal fusion reversal done in the United States.

The procedure relieved years of pain for “Bobbie Jo”, a 40 year-old Santa Rosa, CA woman who had a cervical (neck) fusion performed years ago after suffering an injury. She now shows a greatly improved range of movement than was possible with the fusion in place. Bobbie Jo’s story was recently taped at Dr. Light’s office by KGO 7 News.

“Many fusions should not be done as a first choice”, says Dr. Light. In the past, the only course of treatment for many patients has been a spinal fusion procedure which is done to stabilize the spine and to prevent further damage to the injured area. However, spinal fusion has several disadvantages including a variable loss of range of movement in the treated areas and, in many cases, recurring pain and further damage to the spine.

Dr. Light says that fusions are appropriate in many cases, especially where no other treatment will help. “However, there are now alternatives that can help a person regain full movement and mobility, rather than having their vertebrae “frozen”, which can lead to significant side effects including pain and increased stress to adjacent vertebrae,” says Dr. Light. “In some cases the fusion will heal in the wrong position, causing a tilting of the spine.”

After examination, Dr. Light suggested that Bobbie Jo consider another approach – total disc replacement using a device called the “ProDisc-C Implant”. Says Dr. Light, “Artificial disc replacement is an attempt to fix complicated neck and back problems.” The implant has been designed to maintain the physiological range of motion in the spine. An added benefit is shortened recovery time for most patients. “I believe that artificial disc replacement will eventually replace 70% to 80% of all spinal fusion surgeries,” says Dr. Light.

Over 150,000 spinal fusions are performed in the U.S. each year to treat injuries or degenerative disease. Dr. Light says that is way too many.

Dr. Light believes that many more physicians will soon consider alternatives to spinal fusion in order to give patients an improved quality of life.

You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Common Causes of Chronic Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a common medical complaint among both women and men — and worse, it gets more common with age. Knowing what’s causing your back pain is the first step in getting the right treatment. Here are five common causes to be aware of.

Healing From Spinal Fusion Surgery: What to Expect

Even though spinal fusion is a safe, effective remedy for many types of spine pain, it’s not uncommon to be a little anxious about what happens afterward. If spinal fusion surgery is in your future, here’s what to expect during recovery.

Can a Car Accident Cause a Concussion?

With football season fast approaching, news reports of concussion injuries are sure to follow. But sports accidents aren’t the only cause of concussions. Car accidents are a major cause, too. Here, we explain how they’re linked.

Living With Scoliosis

Scoliosis is usually associated with childhood, but it can develop in adults, too. In fact, scoliosis is a source of pain for millions of older Americans. Undergoing surgery isn’t always necessary, however. Here’s more about living with scoliosis.

When You Need Surgery for Disc Herniation

Disc herniation is a relatively common cause of back pain, especially for people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Often, you can get symptom relief with noninvasive treatments — but that’s not always the case. Here’s when surgery is the better choice.