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Northwestern Memorial Surgeon To Demonstrate Minimally Invasive Scoliosis Surgery

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Richard Fessler, MD, PhD, a renowned spinal surgeon at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, will demonstrate the use of minimally invasive surgery to treat scoliosis during a live interactive webcast on October 7th at 3:00 p.m. CDT, which can be viewed at www.ihealth.nmh.org .

Dr. Fessler and the team at Northwestern pioneered the minimally invasive procedure, which is transforming the way scoliosis patients are treated by offering an approach that puts less stress on the body, leads to a faster recovery and a shorter rehabilitation period following surgery. Whereas traditional scoliosis surgery is disruptive to tissues and often requires a dissection of muscles running from the shoulder blades to the waistline, the minimally invasive approach is performed through muscle sparing small dilations.

“With minimally invasive scoliosis surgery, we don’t have to dissect the muscle which has tremendous benefit to the patient and allows them to return to everyday life within weeks,” commented Dr. Fessler. “There is also less blood loss and a lower risk of infection.”

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Fessler has been on the cutting edge of minimally invasive spinal surgery since the early 1990’s and has developed many of the now widely-used techniques and surgical tools. He has also played a significant role in converting nearly two dozen operations into minimally invasive surgeries. Minimally invasive scoliosis surgery is available to patients between the ages of 25 to 75, with the older percentile growing at the fastest rate.

“The baby boomers are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population and they’re a group that wants to stay active. These conditions are extremely disabling, so there’s an increased need for treatment options that allow patients to maintain a good quality of life,” says Fessler.

Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, affects about 6 million people in the United States and can limit activity, cause debilitating pain, reduce respiratory function and diminish self-esteem. In addition to scoliosis, Fessler treats lumbar stenosis, lumbar fusion, vertibrectomy and spinal cord tumors, and similar problems in the cervical and thoracic spine.

The October 7th webcast is open to patients who are seeking information about scoliosis surgery, as well as clinicians and surgeons. Colleagues of Dr. Fessler will moderate the webcast and address questions from viewers during the surgery.