Are you tired of suffering from back pain? For many of us, we accept back pain like we accept the onset of gray hair and wrinkles – an unwanted eventuality for all of us, a consequence of getting older. But it doesn’t have to be. At AppOrtho, in many cases we can say goodbye to back pain for good, thanks to a simple outpatient procedure known as a kyphoplasty.
Are you ready for relief?
Back pain is often caused by a break between your vertebrae known as a compression fracture. This fracture frequently occurs in senior adults as a result of wear and tear to the cartilage in the joint, in many cases brought on by osteoporosis. Vertebral Compression Fractures (VCFs) can occur suddenly and without warning, and simple tasks like bending over to pick something up can lead to a break. A silent disease, osteoporosis causes gradual bone loss over the years without symptoms and is the cause of more than 800,000 VCFs annually in women and men.
The good news is that compression fractures can and usually do heal on their own. At AppOrtho, all non-operative treatment options are considered before recommending surgery. However, a standard treatment for VCFs involves pain medications and bedrest, which unfortunately often leads to opioid dependency.
As an alternative to surgery, a quick and minimally invasive surgical procedure known as kyphoplasty can be performed to stop the pain, repair the bone and restore functionality. Furthermore, reports show that patients who elect to have kyphoplasty have lower mortality risk, lower readmission rates and three times the pain reduction of other treatment options.
How it works
Think of the spine as a flexible chain of interconnected bones that work in unison to help hold the body together. When a compression fracture occurs, the area between these bones or vertebrae thins causing painful friction between the bone fragments. To repair this type of fracture, your surgeon may recommend a kyphoplasty procedure; here is what you can expect.
- In the operating room, the patient will lie down on their stomach and be given general anesthesia, which puts them to sleep.
- A sterilized hollow needle is then guided by x-ray and placed between the injured vertebrae.
- Once the needle is in place, a balloon is inserted through the needle and then inflated to create needed space between the bone fragments.
- Bone cement is then injected through the needle to fill in and repair that space between the vertebrae.
- The needle is then removed and a bandage is applied. No stitches are required for this procedure. The entire process typically takes less than an hour to complete.
Patients usually notice a reduction in pain immediately after the procedure. In most cases, patients can resume their normal routine with an improved quality of life within two days.
We’ve got your back
With more than 25 years of experience performing spine surgeries, James Califf, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at AppOrtho, is the only orthopedist in the High Country who performs kyphoplasty procedures, along with other complex spine procedures, at Watauga Medical Center.
In addition to intra-operative procedures like kyphoplasty for osteoporosis and trauma, Dr. Califf and his assistant Jeremy Freitas, PA, provide extensive patient follow up care for all patients as needed at AppOrtho. These follow up appointments allow patients to ask lingering questions, get feedback on their progress and address any concerns they or their family members may have.
Although Dr. Califf specializes in the treatment of spinal disorders, he also performs shoulder, hip, hand, joint replacement and arthroscopic surgery.
“At AppOrtho, we are pleased to offer advanced spine surgery right here in the High Country,” said Dr. Califf. “Simply put, our goal is to help our patients feel better and to provide that care close to home.”
To learn more about spine surgery at AppOrtho, call (828) 386-2663 or request an appointment here. No referral is required.
[May 23, 2019]
Are you a put ‘er offer when it comes to knee pain? Like so many of us, you grin and bear it, hoping to avoid or at least prolong the need for an eventual knee replacement. At AppOrtho, we understand that no one likes to think about knee replacement surgery. That’s why we are pleased to present a new and less-invasive treatment option that involves using the patient’s own cells to repair cartilage in the knee.
Yes, you read that correctly, welcome to the world of orthobiologics, now available right here in the High Country.
Breaking new ground
The first cartilage restoration procedure, otherwise known as Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI), was recently performed by Dr. Benjamin Parker at Watauga Medical Center.
To be clear, cartilage restoration in the knee is not a new concept. Similar procedures have actually been around for several years, but surgeons have been hesitant to recommend them due to the historically invasive and technically demanding nature of the surgery.
Now, thanks to new technology, this FDA approved procedure is simplified, less invasive and easily reproducible. It also provides long-lasting pain relief and improved knee functionality for the patient.1
How it works
Cartilage restoration surgery is a three-step process.
- The first step is for the surgeon to take a biopsy of healthy cartilage (arthroscopically) from a non weight-bearing area of the patient’s knee. The biopsy is then sent to a FDA-licensed, cell-processing center, where it is stored cryogenically (frozen) for up to five years.
- The patient can then wait and see how the knee progresses. If knee pain subsides after the initial debridement, no further action is required. However, if symptoms persist and surgery is recommended, the healthy cartilage cells from the biopsy are then expanded and seeded on a special membrane implant at the cell-processing center. The implant is then delivered back to the hospital for the surgeon to shape and fit into the area where the damaged cartilage was removed from the patient’s knee. No suture is required for this outpatient procedure; rather the implant is applied with surgical glue.
- The third step in the treatment process requires that the patient participate in a physician-prescribed rehabilitation program. Recovery time can vary, but patients are generally able to return to full weight-bearing and range of motion within four to six weeks.
Is it right for me?
This procedure may be considered for patients with acute cartilage injuries between the ages of 18 and 54. Acute cartilage injuries can occur after a fall or as a result of a traumatic athletic event. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, clicking and locking of the knee.2
In some cases, the MACI procedure may be considered to help prevent the knee from needing a joint replacement in the future. Not every patient is a good candidate for a cartilage restoration surgery. At AppOrtho, each patient is carefully evaluated in order to determine the most appropriate treatment option. All non-surgical treatment options are considered before surgery is recommended.
To make an appointment at AppOrtho, call (828) 386-2663 or request an appointment here. No referral is required.
- Saris D, Price A, Widuchowski W, et al. Matrix-applied characterized autologous cultured chondrocytes versus microfracture: Two-year follow-up of a prospective randomized trial. Am J Sports Med. 2014;42(6):1384-94.
- Gomoll AH, et al. Surgical management of articular cartilage defects of the knee. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2010 Oct 20;92(14):2470-90.
Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between a person’s age and the amount of time they spend talking about their health? Think about those who are a bit more beautifully seasoned in life, outside of the weather and their grandkids, health related concerns often prove to be a hot topic of conversation at the dinner table.
At AppOrtho, we believe that age is just a number and that all of our patients should have something more to look forward to in life than their next doctor’s appointment. That’s why we are proud to offer anterior hip replacement surgery right here in the High Country. Unlike limited hip replacement options of the past, the anterior approach is less invasive and typically results in a faster recovery time for patients.
Are you ready for a hip replacement?
If you are suffering from hip or groin pain, soreness or stiffness after exercise or an inability to walk short distances, then you may have osteoarthritis of the hip. This wear-and-tear type of arthritis is common in older adults and is caused by inflammation of the joint. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, many treatment options exist to help relieve pain and improve quality of life.
At AppOrtho, all non-operative treatment options are considered before recommending surgery. In many cases, a combination of physical therapy, medication, injections and simple life-style changes can result in reduced pain and improved functionality for the patient. However, if symptoms persist, hip replacement surgery is available at Watauga Medical Center.
Taking a different approach
Think of the hip as a ball-and-socket joint. A healthy layer of cartilage in the joint allows the ball to move freely within the socket. However, when osteoarthritis causes that cartilage to wear out, hip movement can become restricted and painful for the patient.
Hip replacement surgery can address this issue by removing the damaged ball-and-socket joint and then replacing it with a new artificial implant. Although the procedure itself is pretty straight forward, a decision must be made on the front end to determine which approach the surgeon will use to access the hip joint.
Traditional hip replacement surgery calls for a posterior or back-of-the-joint approach. Using this technique, the surgeon must cut through several muscles in order to reach and replace the hip. These muscles are then repaired at the end of the procedure. Although outcomes are typically good with this approach, recovery time can vary due to the invasive nature of the procedure.
Anterior hip replacement surgery has recently become popular among patients due to its less invasive front-of-the-hip approach. In most cases, surgeons using this technique are able to access the hip joint without having to cut through any muscles. Not every patient is a candidate for this approach, but those who are often enjoy less discomfort after surgery and a faster return to normal activities.
Don’t leave the mountain for hip surgery
Dr. Steven Anderson, an orthopedic surgeon at AppOrtho, is the only orthopedist in the High Country who performs anterior hip replacement surgery at Watauga Medical Center. With more than 15 years of experience, Dr. Anderson specializes in primary and revision (redo) hip, knee and shoulder reconstruction.
“At AppOrtho, we are pleased to offer advanced hip replacement surgery right here in the High Country,” said Dr. Anderson. “Our goal is to help our patients feel like people again. We do that by helping them get back to the things they enjoy doing.”
To learn more about hip surgery at AppOrtho, call (828) 386-2663 or request an appointment here. No referral is required.