Kishwaukee Community Hospital Opens Spine Center

Share Article

Kishwaukee Community Hospital is changing the way patients and their families think about and experience spinal surgery with the introduction of the Spine Center.

Co-Director of Kish Hospital Spine Center, Dr. Martin Gryfinski

Kishwaukee Community Hospital is changing the way patients and their families think about and experience spinal surgery with the introduction of the Spine Center, a comprehensive program, based on a national best practice model for spine surgery, structured around the fundamental concept of wellness. The Spine Center at Kish Hospital helps patients in the DeKalb and Sandwich areas who are candidates for minimally invasive spine surgery for conditions including stenosis of the spine and other common back and neck conditions needing surgery.

“While spine surgery has been performed at Kish Hospital for many years, this new program creates a patient-centered spine surgery experience, from the moment a patient decides to have surgery to the day he or she leaves the hospital,” according to Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Raymond Hwang, MD. “This program also allows us to put in place research-driven best practices that lead to better outcomes,” he said. Dr. Hwang, who with board-certified Neurosurgeon Martin E. Gryfinski, MD, and the administrative and clinical team at Kish Hospital, developed this innovative new program.

“First and foremost we view our patients along a wellness continuum, with the need for surgery as a step along that continuum to improved health through the treatment and or elimination of disease,” said Dr. Gryfinski. This fundamental concept of wellness is executed throughout the entire program, which incorporates the most appropriate analgesic, minimally invasive, and rapid-recovery surgical techniques with an environment that maximizes patient recovery through education, a culture of early mobility, family involvement, and group interaction.

The Spine Center Experience

The Spine Center experience actually begins in the physician’s office. Once an individual decides to have spine surgery, the patient is given a comprehensive guidebook that explains the upcoming surgery and a list of activities, including pre-operative strengthening exercises that need to begin prior to surgery. This guidebook also serves as a clinical diary that the patient brings to the pre-operative class, to all appointments, and to the hospital. According to David Smith, Spine Center coordinator at Kish Hospital, “Expectation setting is a key component to our program.”

Each patient chooses a coach – usually a friend or family member – who is an active participant and in the patient’s care throughout the process. Both patients and coaches are required to attend a pre-operative class one to two weeks prior to surgery where they meet their Spine Center team in addition to learning about the procedure, what to expect in the hospital, and how to care for oneself after discharge.    

All staff members at The Spine Center receive special training and are chosen to work on the unit because of their expertise, positive attitudes, and motivational skills. Coaches learn the program alongside their loved one and provide encouragement and support every step of the way.

The pivotal concept of wellness is also executed throughout an individual’s stay in the hospital. Spine Center patients do not wear hospital gowns; rather, they are expected to bring comfortable clothing that they wear during the day. Each day patients receive a daily newsletter letting them know the day’s agenda as well as tips on how to care for themselves.

Care does not end after discharge or graduation. Graduates receive calls from the hospital staff after going home. Reunions for Spine Center graduates and their coaches occur periodically with surgeons and their entire team.

The End Result: Superior Outcomes

According to national best practice studies, the result of this new approach to surgery is less pain, quicker recovery, and superior outcomes.

“We evaluate each patient on multiple clinical, functional, and patient satisfaction criteria,” explained Smith. These outcomes are then analyzed during monthly performance improvement team meetings and enable Kish Hospital to become masters of teamwork. “So when we say we offer superior outcomes, we have the data to prove it,” continued Smith.    

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Gryfinski at DeKalb Clinic call 815.758.8671 or Dr. Hwang at Midwest Orthopedic Institute call 815.758.0000. For more information about the Spine Center, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Allison Bryan
Visit website