Back surgery can change your life in an instant, relieving pain and restoring mobility. New techniques and technologies are enabling board-certified spine surgeon Duke Thomas, M.D. and his colleagues to operate at St. Clair Hospital through smaller incisions, with less disruption to muscles; as a result, patients experience less post-op pain, less time in hospital and a faster recovery. “Sometimes, a patient will ask, ‘How long will I be down with this surgery?’ I tell them they won’t be down at all. In fact, they will be up very quickly,” Dr. Thomas says. “Our goal is to get you moving again.”
A significant advancement in spine surgery is the way the procedures are performed. “We can accomplish more with smaller surgeries,” Dr. Thomas says. “Improved microscopes and specialized instruments, plus improved imaging technology, mean faster, less invasive surgery; the patient spends less time under anesthesia and is out of bed the same day. These changes make it possible for many procedures to be done on an outpatient basis or with a one-night admission.”
Dr. Thomas performs a variety of surgeries to correct problems that produce back pain and instability, such as spinal stenosis and herniated disks. Back pain is the No. 1 medical cost in the U.S., he says, because the costs include missed days at work. “Back pain has an enormous cost to society,” he explains, “in addition to what it costs the individual. Back pain is real and people in pain need relief. When you have a pinched nerve from spinal stenosis, it can lead to weakness and numbness that limit your ability to walk. With surgery, you should wake up with your nerve pain gone and you’ll get your life back. Our team at St. Clair Orthopedic Associates does a great job helping people with back pain.”
To contact Dr. Thomas, call (412) 942-7262.