San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) November 20, 2011
Dr. Kenneth Light is a spine surgeon who specializes in cases considered "hopeless," so severe that other physicians consider them beyond treatment. "Never give up hope,” he says. "I don't believe in giving up on patients until I've tried everything possible to help them," he says. "When you're affecting the way people live their lives, you can't justify doing anything less.”
Dr. Light tells the story of a recent patient, “Angelina”, age 36, who just wanted her pain to stop. Angelina injured her back twice by lifting heavy objects at work. “The first injury occurred a few years ago; her second back injury was especially painful,” says Dr. Light. “Angelina had suffered two herniated discs in her lumbar spine and she was in constant pain.”
Angelina had a “discectomy” a few years ago to attempt to fix her problem. The procedure was done to remove the damaged portions of her discs to relieve pain. The procedure seemed to help for a while but the pain returned and intensified over time. Angelina’s doctor at the time explained that arthritis had also formed in the damaged areas, adding to her discomfort and loss of full mobility.
“Until recently, the only course of treatment for these types of injuries has been a spinal fusion procedure, which is done to stabilize the spine,” says Dr. Light. “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.”
“After my initial examination I suggested that Angelina consider another approach - total disc replacement,” says Dr. Light. “Artificial disc replacement is an attempt to fix complicated back problems without resorting to a spinal fusion.” The implant has been designed to maintain the physiological range of motion in the spine. “I believe that artificial disc replacement will eventually replace the majority of all spinal fusion surgeries," says Dr. Light. “Most patients will experience little downtime after the procedure and can usually return to most of their regular activities in a matter of days.”
Dr. Light performed total disc replacement and Angelina says she can now move without pain for the first time in years.
Dr. Light has been described by his patient as "the doctor of last resort". He says that spinal 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," he says.
For more information on back pain, spinal disc replacement and spinal fusion, visit http://www.drkennethlight.com or call 415.673.4500.
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About Dr. Light:
Dr. Kenneth Light graduated from the Cornell University College of Medicine in New York City. He completed his residency in Orhopaedic Surgery at the University of California in San Francisco., and completed a fellowship in spinal surgery under the guidance of Edward H. Simmons at the State University of New York in Buffalo.
Dr. Light was director of the spine clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, and was founder and medical director of the San Francisco Spine Center at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, is board certified with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at University of California, San Francisco. He is currently in private practice in San Francisco where he specializes in reconstructive surgery in patients who have had failed back surgery.