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Dr. Schuler Dispels A Common Myth About Spine Surgery

Authored by Dr. Thomas Schuler, MD, FACS, FAAOS. February 1, 2017

What is really exciting about modern spinal healthcare is the great advances that have really happened over the past decade, especially even over the past 5 years. When you think of old spinal treatments, everybody gets scared and they’re afraid they’re not going to get better. But, with the modern care, we get everybody back to their life. The interesting thing is when you look at the robotic surgery, the stem cell therapies, minimally invasive procedures, people are getting better faster, spending less time in the hospital, and getting back to their lives — and that’s what’s important. But of all these great advances the one that excites me the most are the disc replacements in the neck.

When we take a look at cervical artificial discs, or cervical arthroplasty, this is a way for us to treat severe neck and arm problems without having to fuse the neck. We put in a device that preserves the motion at the affected level, rather than putting a bone graft in to make it rigid. This means more motion through the affected levels, but also no stress on the adjacent levels. With this we see patients getting better faster and doing better short-term as well as long-term and this is really exciting. It’s extremely important to me because I’ve got bad neck problems — in fact 4 years ago I had surgery on my neck because of the problems I was having. It was 2 disc replacements I had put in my neck and I’m so excited because now 4 years later I’m back to being a surgeon, I’m an active father, I’m playing golf, playing tennis, playing football with my kids, doing so many things that in the old days would have been more of a problem. So, I’m excited about these advances not only for myself, but for my patients because they can get back to their lives like I did.

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Dr. Thomas Schuler, MD, FACS, FAAOS

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