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Monday, September 20, 2010 - North Broward Medical Center Opens Spine Care Center

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, Lumbar Fusion, Lumbar Laminectomy and Lumbar Microdiscectomy Now Part of Comprehensive Program

Deerfield Beach, FL - Broward Health North Broward Medical Center recently opened its Spine Care Center and is now offering several specialized procedures, including anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, lumbar fusion, lumbar laminectomy and lumbar microdiscectomy, as part of a comprehensive program featuring an interdisciplinary team approach and pre-operative and post-operative patient education.

“Back and neck pain can oftentimes prevent people from participating in and enjoying everyday activities,” says Dr. Matthew Moore, Medical Director of the Spine Care Center at North Broward Medical Center. “When physical therapy and medications are no longer effective, patients should consider spine surgery. We offer several procedures that can help get people back to doing the things they love.”

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a surgical procedure performed on the front part of the neck to help relieve pressure on nerves and perhaps even the spinal cord itself. Over time, wear and tear, arthritis or an injury can damage the structures of the cervical spine resulting in pressure and irritation to nerves and nerve roots. This pressure can cause severe pain, discomfort and numbness not only to the neck, but down the arms as well. During the operation, an incision is made and the surgeon removes the disc and/or bone spurs that are causing the problem. In most cases, the surgeon then fuses or joins together the affected vertebrae using bone graft or cage and a metal plate.

A lumbar fusion is an operation to stabilize the lower back by creating bony bridges between at least two vertebrae and eliminating motion between them. It can be done by fusing the vertebral bodies in front (anterior) or by fusing the facet joints and lamina in the back (posterior). Bone substitutes can be placed on and between the lamina and the facet joints. Metal screws and rods or plates may be attached to the bones to secure the fixation while the bony bridge heals. During the operation, a midline incision is made in the lower back and the muscles supporting the spine are divided. A small window is made in the sheet of bone (lamina) covering the spinal cord. The surgeon then removes any ruptured disc material or bone spurs that are pinching the nerves or spinal cord. The site is then prepared for fusion by obtaining bone graft and/or bone substitute and laying it on the bone. Metal screws and rods or plates may be attached to the bones to secure fixation while the bone heals.

A lumbar laminectomy is the surgical removal of the lamina or part of the lamina on one or more of the vertebrae in the lower back. This is usually done to relieve pressure on nerves that may become inflamed from pressure caused by a narrowed spinal canal, bone spurs or a herniated disc. Once the lamina is removed, the surgeon can then access the spinal canal and remove the source of irritation or pressure.

A discectomy is the removal of herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve causing pain, numbness, tingling or weakness. A microdiscectomy is an operation performed on the lumbar spine using a special surgical microscope. The surgeon makes a small incision in the lower back. The microscope allows the surgeon to visualize the area with minimal or no cutting of the muscles and soft-tissues adjacent to the herniated disc. Often a laser will be used with the microscope to vaporize the disc material. This means less damage to surrounding tissues and quicker recovery times.

“We’re very excited to offer these procedures in a comprehensive program and motivational atmosphere,” says Pauline Grant, CEO of North Broward Medical Center. “Our entire Spine Care Center staff is dedicated to providing the highest quality care and excellent customer service.”

The Spine Care Center features a team of expert surgeons, nurses, therapists and technicians specially trained to provide comprehensive clinical care for patients undergoing back and neck surgery. The Center consists of a special area of the hospital dedicated only to the care of spine surgery patients with private rooms and bathrooms, recliners and flat screen TVs. Patients are not required to wear hospital gowns and instead may wear their own clothes.

The staff works with patients in a structured recovery program, including pre-operative and post-operative patient and family education, a patient guidebook outlining what to expect each step of the way and daily newsletters while in the hospital. Family members, referred to as “coaches,” are encouraged to participate with the recovery process, learning about special exercises, medications and follow-up care.

North Broward Medical Center offers comprehensive Outpatient Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology services for diagnostic needs prior to surgery as well as continued specialized care through the Outpatient Rehabilitation Department if needed post surgery.

Broward Health, providing service for more than 50 years, is a nationally recognized system offering world class health care services to our neighbors in South Florida. One of the 10 largest public health systems in the nation, Broward Health includes Broward General Medical Center, North Broward Medical Center, Imperial Point Medical Center, Coral Springs Medical Center, Chris Evert Children’s Hospital, Broward Health Weston and more than 30 facilities of the Community Health Services and Broward Health Physician Group. For more information visit www.browardhealth.org.