11:03pm Monday 11 December 2017

Allegheny General Hospital Evaluates New Treatment for Leg and Lower Back Pain

Physicians at Allegheny General’s Neuroscience Institute are participating in a clinical trial to determine if the ACADIA® Facet Replacement System is as effective in treating lumbar spinal stenosis as traditional decompression surgery with spinal fusion.

“Helping patients retain a full range of motion is an important goal when treating lumbar spinal stenosis,” said Donald Whiting, MD, Vice Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at AGH. “We want to eliminate their pain and, ideally, we want to do that while preserving their ability to bend and stretch.”

Each year, more than 300,000 people are affected by lumbar spinal stenosis.  Lumbar spinal stenosis is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition in which the facet joints that hold the vertebrae together may become inflamed causing a narrowing of the spinal column.  With a narrower spinal column, the nerves and nerve roots can become pinched resulting in symptoms that may include pain in the leg, buttocks, thigh, and back.

Surgical options for treating lumbar spinal stenosis involve removing structures that are compressing the nerves and nerve roots, including portions of the facet joints. In standard decompression surgery with fusion, the vertebrae are fused together to stabilize the spine after the spinal cord and nerves are freed from compression. Although spinal fusion helps keep the spine stable following decompression, it also eliminates the motion that naturally occurs between vertebrae.

With the ACADIA® Facet Replacement System, the nerves and nerve roots are decompressed like the standard surgical treatment but the spine is not fused. Instead, ACADIA® is designed to replace degenerated facet joints while restoring normal stability and motion in the lumbar spine.

“Facet replacement could potentially allow us to eliminate patients’ lower back and leg pain while restoring motion, balance and stability within the lower spine,” said AGH neurosurgeon E. Richard Prostko, MD.

Allegheny General is among about 30 sites in the United States offering the ACADIA® clinical trial. The study is sponsored by Globus Medical, Inc., the largest privately held spinal implant manufacturer in the world.

For more information on the study, call 412.359.3353.

The AGH Department of Neurosurgery provides comprehensive treatment of spinal diseases and injuries including tumors, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, vascular malformations and arthritis of the spine. Allegheny General’s 22-bed Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit, dedicated Neuroscience Unit, and state-of-the-art technology provide an optimal environment for the care of patients with spinal disorders. The Hospital’s neurosurgeons perform thousands of spinal surgeries each year and an interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, therapists and support staff guide patients through all stages of the healing process.

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