Patients in Hampton Roads suffering from a degenerative, age-related lower back pain condition now have a new non-surgical alternative to treatment being used by specialists at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center and Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital. Developed by Vertos Medical Inc., the FDA-approved mild® procedure includes X-ray-guided, fluoroscopic technology to treat patients suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), a narrowing of the lower spinal canal that leads to lower back pain and reduced mobility, most often occurring in adults over age 50.
More than 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed and treated for LSS each year. Symptoms include pain, tingling or numbness in the lower back, legs or buttocks when standing or walking. Historically, LSS treatment included palliative options offering temporary relief, including physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, steroid injections and pain pumps. LSS also could require more invasive, surgical procedures, including spinal fusion or removal of the lamina, with substantial risk of complications and changes to the natural anatomy and stability of the spine.
“Low back pain and LSS impact millions of Americans and Bon Secours is pleased to now offer a safer, more effective treatment to patients throughout Hampton Roads,” said Jonathan Bernardini, MD, a pain management specialist with the Bon Secours Neuroscience Center for Pain Management, who is one of two specialists in Hampton Roads qualified to perform the mild® procedure. “It’s extremely rewarding for patients, who have long suffered from LSS, to now be able to return to everyday activities after having the mild® procedure. It’s equally rewarding for providers to offer a minimally-invasive treatment option that carries a low risk for complications.”
The mild® procedure has a positive-response rate of nearly 80 percent in more than 12,000 cases performed to-date.
In the mild® procedure, physicians use X-ray-guided devices and a tiny incision to remove excess ligament tissue, one of the significant contributors to LSS, thereby restoring space in the spinal canal and reducing compression of the nerves. The outpatient procedure does not require anesthesia, implants or stitches.
Dr. Bernardini and pain management specialist Jeremy J. Hoff, DO of Bon Secours-affiliated Hampton Roads Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, to-date are the only physicians qualified to perform the mild® procedure in the Hampton Roads region. Specialists are required to attend mild® training provided by Vertos Medical.
“Millions of people have some sort of lumbar spinal stenosis, and the mild® procedure is the latest step in treatment for this condition,” says Dr. Hoff. “Unlike other treatment options, the mild® procedure uses a special device to actually eliminate the compression around the spinal canal. It’s a quick, minimally-invasive approach that takes about an hour, and patients are back to their routine activities within days.”
A Cleveland Clinic study found that after 12 months, average standing times for mild® patients increased from eight minutes to 56 minutes, with average walking distances increasing from 246 feet to 3,956 feet. In addition, data from 11 clinical trials nationwide revealed 79 percent of patients experiencing reduced pain after one year of mild® treatment, with mobility increasing by an average 34 percent.
For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Bernardini or Dr. Hoff, please call our physician referral line at (757) 889-CARE.