Janice — Geneva, IL
When Janice found out she had herniated discs in her back, all she could think about was her daughter, Jessica. "Jessica is a dancer," says Janice. "Three years ago she herniated the same two discs. She had surgery and everything went extremely well. As a matter of fact, she only missed one dance show. But she was 17; I'm...well, not that young!"
Janice's main concern was the postoperative pain she had witnessed in her daughter. Already stricken with rheumatoid arthritis and medication induced osteoporosis, she had been enduring pain and broken bones for the past 23 years. Her answer came in the form of Dr. Craig Popp.
Dr. Popp suggested minimally invasive spine surgery using the METRx® System. Only three years earlier, Dr. Popp had performed a discectomy on Jessica, but using the traditional system of retracting the musculature to gain access to the spinal column. "This system has been in use for years," notes Dr. Popp. "And, although it functions very well, it can cause some postoperative pain and muscle spasms. Since then, medical technology has advanced enough so that physicians can visualize the spinal column with reduced trauma to the surrounding muscle and tissue."
To understand how this minimally invasive spine surgery works, remember back to your childhood when you played with the ring-stacking toy. There's a post and you stack the rings onto it starting with the largest and ending with the smallest. The METRx® System uses this principle, but in reverse. A guide wire is placed to locate the correct spot. Then a vertical incision is made. Here is where the METRx® System greatly differs from the former procedure. Instead of using retractors to pull the muscle bands apart to create the opening, graduated dilators shaped like hollow tubes are inserted one by one to slowly expand the muscle, beginning with the smallest and ending with the largest. Once the area is opened adequately, only the largest dilators remain; the rest are slowly removed, creating a "tunnel." The physician performs spine surgery through this portal.
"The trauma imposed on muscle and tissue by traditional retractors can be a source of pain for the majority of spine surgery patients," says Dr. Popp. "The METRx® System expands the muscles gradually and proportionally so there is much less damage. And, because the dilating tube maintains the space without muscle and tissue edging in, the surgeon gets a much clearer view of the spinal column with microscopic pictures."
When discussing the benefits of spine surgery with the METRx® System with Dr. Popp, Janice also learned there were potential risks, including transitioning to a conventional open procedure, neurological damage, damage to the surrounding soft tissue, and instrument malfunction such as bending, fragmentation, loosening, and/or breakage (whole or partial).
Breakage of the tip in the patient may increase surgical time. The surgery also may not be effective. Similar risks are associated with the use of the system in other parts of the body.
Being able to return to the business of living meant everything to Janice. "I was very apprehensive about the spine surgery," remembers Janice. "I was already trying to come back from a broken hip when they realized it was throwing a curve to my spine. But the surgery with Dr. Popp was easy for me. The minimally invasive spine surgery worked so well that after only a week, I was pretty much pain free."
Janice underwent physical therapy, including aquatic therapy at the Delnor-Community Health and Wellness Center. "This was such a wonderful experience for me," says Janice. "I put myself in the hands of Dr. Popp and the professionals at Delnor, and they didn't let me down. My daughter got married this summer and by gosh, I was there—standing!"
Story contributed by Deborah Danner, Senior Marketing/Public Relations Specialist at Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva Illinois.
It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of the METRx® System with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician's judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.
After reading this please keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, or nerve damage are some of the potential adverse risks of spinal surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information.