Dr. George Rappard Reports that Endoscopic Micro-decompressive Lumbar Discectomy is an Effective Minimally Invasive Treatment for Patients with Back Pain

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Dr. George Rappard, Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute neurointerventional surgeon, unveiled the results of study evaluating the effectiveness of a minimally invasive procedure to treat back pain today. The results were presented at the 2010 American Society of Spine Radiology Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The results are similar to major surgery, with drastically reduced recovery times and post-op pain”

Neurointerventional Surgeon Dr. George Rappard, on behalf of the Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute, presented findings today on the effectiveness of a minimally invasive treatment for back pain. Early clinical results reveal that endoscopic micro-decompressive discectomy significantly reduces or eliminates pain caused by lumbar disc herniation. These breaking results were announced Friday at the American Society of Spine Radiology Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. These findings hold promise for patients with low back and leg pain due to lumbar disc disease.

The disc is a cushioning structure between the bones of the spine. Many people develop degeneration, or arthritis, of the lumbar spine discs. Arthritis of the disc can lead to herniation, a condition where the disc tears or bulges, compressing the nerves of the back. The resultant back pain can affect up to 80% of Americans. In almost one third of cases the pain becomes chronic, having lifelong effects. Every year 3% to 4% of the working population is temporarily disabled and 1% of working Americans become totally disabled due to back pain. The loss in work force productivity from back pain approached 28 billion dollars annually. Back pain is the third most common reason for someone to undergo a surgical procedure.

Endoscopic micro-decompressive discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of back pain. The procedure involves a tiny skin incision, through which a small tube is placed in the back. Through this tube a camera, or endoscope, is placed. This allows the surgeon to directly visualize the area of surgery without having to make a large cut. Tiny micro-instruments can be placed through the camera to accomplish surgery of the lumbar disc and decompress the nerves of the back. The skin incision is closed with a band aid, and patients return home the same day.

According to Dr. George Rappard, little effective means have been available in between the spectrum of conservative therapy and major surgery to treat back pain. Rappard states “patients with chronic pain not effectively treated with therapy and pills either have to live with their pain or face major surgery. Today, we have an alternative to major surgery.” Rappard sees endoscopic micro-decompressive discectomy as an option for patients considering major back surgery to relieve their pain. “The results are similar to major surgery, with drastically reduced recovery times and post-op pain” notes Rappard.

Rappard reported his experience with endoscopic lumbar micro-decompressive discectomy at the 2010 American Society of Spine Radiology Annual Meeting. Patients undergoing this procedure rated their back and leg pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Preoperatively the average back and leg pain scores were 8.5 and 6, respectively. At follow up, pain was reduced to 4 and 0 out of 10. The average follow up period for patients in the study was 75 days.

The Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute will continue to study the effectiveness of endoscopic lumbar micro-decompressive discectomy in carefully selected patients. A prospective study is already underway and Rappard plans on reporting those results later this year.

About the Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute:
The Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute provides state of the art comprehensive and minimally invasive brain and spine therapies, including supportive care and cutting edge research. The Institute consists of a seasoned and experienced multi-disciplinary team of neurosurgeons, neurointerventional surgeons, Neurocritical care specialists and therapists. Our care is delivered in a compassionate and accessible community based setting.

For more information:
For more information on minimally invasive and comprehensive spine therapies, visit the Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute at http://www.LABrainandSpine.com, or email us at info(at)LABrainandSpine(dot)com. On twitter, http://www.twitter.com/LASpine.

Media contact

The Los Angeles Brain and Spine Institute. 818-949-4900.

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