This medical video looks into how back surgery has improved over the years.
Read the full transcript »
Jennifer Matthews: Two days after back surgery, Sherrie Devencenzi is up, walking around. Sherrie Devencenzi: There's just a little pressure on my tailbone and just a pinching when I sit up. Other than that, it feels pretty good. Jennifer Matthews: Sherrie is one of the first patients at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland to undergo a new type of back surgery. Dr. Robert A. Hart: Traditional spine surgery required a large open procedure from the back, where the muscles are stripped away from the spine. Jennifer Matthews: During the new procedure, doctors drill smaller holes on either side of the spine, using an X-ray to guide them. Then, they insert screws into the vertebrae and hold them in place using a rod guided by a metal arc. Dr. Robert A. Hart: As we swing that arc down, that rod finds the two screws and interlocks, interconnects between the two screws. Jennifer Matthews: Like traditional fusion surgery, the hardware stays inside to stabilize the spine. Because this surgery is done from the outside, there's less pain, less scarring and for most patients, a shorter recovery. Sherrie Devencenzi: I'm thinking I wished I would have done it much sooner. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.