This medical video looks into the new groundbreaking surgery to heal back pain.
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Jennifer Mathews: As a respiratory therapist, Thomas Bell does a lot of pulling and bending. He has scoliosis, which made his work and his life a big pain, mostly in his back. Thomas Bell: It had gotten to the point where the pain was becoming unbearable, and I had dealt with it for like 20 years. Jennifer Mathews: Instead of standard surgery, which is painful with a long recovery, Thomas chose an easier option offered by surgeon William Taylor. William Taylor: The surgery has been made much more easier for the patient. So that now, the incision is one, to two, to three centimeters long, which is just enough to get the retractor into that space. Jennifer Mathews: That retractor makes the tiny incision possible. Surgeons insert this small device and expand it to operate inside the body. The surgery is done from the side so there's no need to cut through the abdomen, aorta and other vital body parts. William Taylor: The length of surgery has gotten shorter because we don't have to do the large dissection to remove all the muscles and expose everything. Jennifer Mathews: Also, if surgeons come too close to delicate nerves, they are alerted so they can work around them. William Taylor: Since the pain is much less, narcotic rate has gone way down, they're recovering much faster. They're back to their normal activities quickly and safely. Jennifer Mathews: Hollie says she's glad to have her husband back. Hollie MacTavish: He's much more of a relaxed, happier person, because he's not dealing with that constant stress of the pain all the time, so it's been great. Thomas Bell: It's hard to explain. It's like; It's Heaven. Jennifer Mathews: Thomas now enjoys life's simple moments, pain-free. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.