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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 4, 2013
For more information
CONTACT: Media Relations
(718) 780-5367

New York Methodist Hospital Offers New Procedures for Spine Surgery

New York Methodist Hospital’s Division of Neurosurgery at work. Left to right, Alexandros Zouzias, M.D., Martin
Zonenshayn, M.D., chief of neurosurgery and Michael Ayad, M.D., director of endovascular and cerebrovascular neurosurgery.

New York Methodist Hospital (NYM) has incorporated a revolutionary new neurosurgical technique into its lineup of minimally invasive procedures for spine surgery. Through this lateral access (sideways approach) technique, neurosurgeons at NYM can now minimize or even eliminate the need to dissect muscle to reach the spine for a procedure.
 
"Every year, nearly 600,000 Americans have spinal surgery, whether it's to address stenosis, chronic pain, tumors, scoliotic deformities, trauma or another condition affecting the spine or spinal column," said Martin Zonenshayn, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at NYM. "For any spine surgery patient, we want to minimize the post-operative impact. Although some conditions may necessitate traditional “open” surgery, many operations can now be performed using minimally invasive and lateral access techniques, resulting in less pain, shorter hospital
stays and faster recovery.”
 
One such lateral access procedure is lateral access spinal fusion, in which two or more vertebrae (backbones) are permanently joined together. Spinal fusion is often used to eliminate painful movement of the spine, or to keep the spine stable after injury, infection or removal of a tumor.


“During lateral access spinal fusion, we create a small ‘pathway,’ roughly two inches wide, to the spine through an incision in the patient’s side, allowing us to avoid dissecting back muscles and tissues,” said Alexandros Zouzias, M.D., attending neurosurgeon at NYM, who performs the lateral access procedures. “However, this pathway must be created with the utmost precision. When we access the spine from the lateral position, there is a plexus of nerves surrounding the sides of the spine. Those spinal nerves are crucial to the body’s motor function, and dissecting them to reach the spine is simply not an option. By using
cutting edge devices that stimulate the nerves as we create that pathway, we are able to use electrical pulses that accurately locate and navigate around those nerves, just like a submarine uses sonar to determine its distance from objects underwater. Once we have completed the pathway to the spine, we perform the spinal fusion by removing the old cartilage and replacing it with biologic substitutes that will trigger the body's natural bone growth, fusing the two vertebrae together.”
 
The lateral access technique can be used for procedures to treat a number of other conditions of the lumbar (lower) and thoracic (middle) spine, including primary and metastatic tumors of the spinal cord or spinal column, instability of the spine, trauma and scoliosis.

 
"At NYM, we always strive to stay at the forefront of surgery by offering our patients the most advanced procedures performed by the best surgeons," said Anthony J. Tortolani, M.D.,
chairman of the Departments of Surgery and Cardiothoracic Surgery. “We are dedicated to performing neurosurgical spinal procedures that provide great benefit to our patients with the least disruption to their lives.”
 
New York Methodist Hospital’s Institute for Advanced and Minimally Invasive Surgery has an experienced staff of surgeons who treat all forms of back and spine issues, using surgical
and nonsurgical techniques. To make an appointment, use our online physician referral service or call 1.877.DOCS.14U.

About New York Methodist Hospital

New York Methodist Hospital (NYM), a voluntary, acute-care teaching facility located in Brooklyn's Park Slope, houses 651 inpatient beds (including bassinets) and provides services to about 40,000 inpatients each year. An additional 350,000 outpatient visits and services are logged annually. The Hospital, founded in 1881, has undergone extensive renovation and modernization over the years. NYM has Institutes in the following areas: Advanced and Minimally Invasive Surgery, Asthma and Lung Disease; Cancer Care; Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery; Digestive and Liver Disorders; Diabetes and Other Endocrine Disorders; Vascular Medicine and Surgery; Family Care; Neurosciences; Orthopedic Medicine and Surgery and Women's Health. New York Methodist Hospital is affiliated with the Weill Cornell Medical College and is a member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System.


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