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Lumbar Fusion is Still an Option

Lumbar fusion, also called spinal fusion, is just what it says — the welding of two or more vertebrae in the back. Fusing vertebrae allows them to heal into a single bone, reducing painful motion or restoring stability. In the practice of orthopedist Paul Brisson, MD, spinal fusion isn’t not the first choice, it’s recommended only after we pinpoint the source of back pain and other, non-invasive procedures don’t bring relief.

Why Consider Lumbar Fusion

Spinal fusion may help relieve pain caused by arthritis, a fractured vertebra, infection, herniated disks, lumbar degenerative disk disease, spinal decompression, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, tumors or the fact that we are just getting old and wearing out. These conditions may cause unnatural stretching of the nerves or the ligaments and muscles attached to the spine, causing unnatural motion. When that motion is eliminated, the pain usually follows.

How Does It Work?

To determine the exact source of pain and to plan your treatment, your orthopedist has numerous imaging tests (computerized tomography [CT] plus magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] or x-rays scans) to gather information. Once the data is analyzed fully and the nature of the problem is clearly understood, the medical team can determine which bones to fuse and how to approach it — from the front, the sides or the back, depending on the nature and location of the problem — and if they can employ new, minimally-invasive techniques which use smaller incisions.

A bone graft may be placed in the problem area to stimulate healing and increase bone production, helping the vertebrae merge into one solid bone. In the past, grafts were taken from the patient’s hip bones, which adds more to the surgery and, therefore, more to healing time, but it was the only way. New materials and options, developed in recent years, including bone banks and synthetic bone, have speeded recovery and lowered post-operative pain for many patients.

For added recovery success, immobilization is necessary — the bones will heal faster when they don’t move. Internal fixation means surgeons implant plates, screws and rods to hold the spine still. External fixation means using a back brace or similar device. Internal fixes generally hasten post-operative recovery, but added surgery always carries some additional risk.

Visit New York City’s Top Spinal Surgeon

Located just east of Madison Square Park on 25th Street in Manhattan, Dr. Brisson’s practice provides the best possible service to all his patients. He is a fully-qualified and well-respected member of the New York City medical community, with over 30 years of practice and a skilled staff to back him up. If you’re in pain, contact Dr. Paul M. Brisson, MD, today for a consultation. Hundreds of the Doctor’s previous patients are proof positive — you don’t have to live with back pain. 

Relieve Neck Pain Without Invasive Surgery

Surgery is always an option when cervical (neck) pain invades your life, but ongoing research has given orthopedists like Dr. Paul M. Brisson, MD, new tools that can reduce or cure neck pain without resorting to the scalpel. We’ll all probably be in pain at some point, due to accident or injury, lifestyle, work habits or just the fact that we’re getting old.

Treatment depends on the source and severity of your pain — most neck pain is a short-term problem that the body heals on its own, with a little help from pain relievers, chiropractic and lifestyle improvements.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

Most neck injuries occur in the soft tissues — muscles, tendons or ligaments. Patients describe them as a persistent ache, stabbing or burning; areas sensitive to the touch; numbness and tingling or headaches. To help these small problems work themselves out:

  1. Apply Ice: These are different treatments for different situations. The body often rushes additional blood to an injured area, but, when the body overdoes it and swelling occurs, ice helps reduce blood flow by constricting blood vessels.


  1. Apply Heat: As swelling goes down, switch to heat (via heating pad, hot tub or warm wrap, to loosen muscles and send more blood to the area. Apply it for about 20 minutes at a stretch, several times daily.


  1. Correct Your Posture: Sitting up straight, walking with shoulders high is old, and very sage advice, but there’s more. Tilting your neck forward 20 degrees, like looking at your phone or tablet — puts 30 extra pounds of pressure on your spine. Over time, this can erase the natural curve of your neck, weaken muscles and cause shoulder muscles to tighten, producing create chronic neck pain. Sit with your eyes facing straight forward as much as possible then move around and stretch out regularly.


  1. Exercise: Appropriate exercise strengthens neck muscles, enabling them to do more without pain. Aerobic exercises increase blood flow to soft muscles and tissues of the neck, loosening tight muscles, strengthening weak ones and increasing range of motion. Discuss your goals with your physician, who can help you design a suitable exercise program.


  1. Eat Right, Quit Smoking, Don’t Misuse Drugs: These should be no-brainers, but some people insist on risking their long-term health with bad habits.


Visit New York City’s Top Orthopedic Surgeon

Dr. Brisson is a fully-qualified, well-respected member of the New York City medical community, with over 30 years in practice and a skilled staff to back him up. Located just east of Madison Square Park on 25th Street in Manhattan, his practice provides the best service to every one of his patients. If you’re in pain, contact Dr. Paul M. Brisson, MD, today for a consultation. You don’t have to live with neck pain.

We’re All Getting Older, Back Pain Doesn’t Have to Get Worse

Degenerative disc disease may be a natural change in the spine as we age or a result of years of heavy use.  In addition to the intervertebral discs, the vertebrae themselves, the muscles and ligaments (like just about every other body part) wear out as we age. Tension and stress placed on the spine due to work, sports or other activities, can accelerate this damage. In Manhattan, Paul M. Brisson, MD, understands degenerative discs and their treatment like few other doctors. If you choose Dr. Brisson, you can be confident that you’ve chosen the best spine surgery doctor in Manhattan.

The Issues

Spinal discs are soft, gel-filled tissues which cushion the vertebrae, keeping the bones separate to prevent them rubbing against each other. Degenerative disc disease includes tearing in the disc, also called a disc herniation, and bulging discs, which result in compression of the nerves of the spinal cord. The cartilage and water content of discs also decrease over time, reducing their effectiveness. Any changes to the spinal column will affect the nerves, resulting in localized or radiating pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and a general decreased in motor function or other forms of nerve damage.

Nerve and spinal disk damage are not a time to “just walk it off”, and not conditions that heal themselves.

How Does Dr. Brisson Differ from Other Doctors?

Degenerative disc treatment must cater to each patient’s individual needs. Dr. Brisson begins with a thorough examination to diagnose each patient’s particular issues. He follows that with conservative methods, including physical therapy, stretching and exercise, which can temporarily relieve the compression of spinal regions. These increases nerve space and decreases back pain, as the nerves are no longer being pinched.

When the basic therapies don’t provide sufficient relief, spinal disc or nerve damage may need surgical treatment. A discectomy or microdiscectomy may be indicated. These require the removing all or some of a herniated disc or discs pressing on the neural tissue. In other cases, artificial disc replacement, a more advanced and more challenging alternative, must be considered.

Proudly Serving Patients in New York

For over a quarter century, Dr. Brisson has been helping patients with back pain issues.  His skills and experience have earned him 10 consecutive years of recognition by Castle Connolly and many other honors. Contact Dr. Brisson’s office today, to ask any questions or to schedule a consultation then come to NY Spine Care, where you’ll find the highest quality and standard of care for all your spinal issues.

Improving Your Recovery with Bloodless Spine Surgery

Bloodless spine surgery is designed to minimize blood loss and avoid transfusions. Originally developed for patients with religious objections, research now shows that, overall, patients do better post-surgically when they don’t require them. In Manhattan, Paul M. Brisson, MD, has been doing transfusion-free procedures for many years; he has both the skill and experience to deal expertly with your spinal issues.

Blood Transfusions and Surgery

Patients considering bloodless surgery see numerous possible benefits:

  • Avoiding potential blood reactions and contaminants, including being given the wrong type of blood.
  • Eliminating certain risks of immune responses.
  • Eliminating transfusion-associated circulatory overload (TACO), a result of giving too much blood.
  • Eliminating transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI), in which the lungs fill with fluid creating the potential for respiratory failure.
  • Faster recovery and shorter hospital stays, resulting in fewer hospital infections.

There are also potential mid- and long-term effects of blood transfusions. Research on this subject is in its early stages, but some doctors are beginning to see transfusion risks, for some patients, as significant as transplant risks.

The Research

In 2012, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study focused on Jehovah’s Witnesses, who decline transfusions. The study found no greater risk for bloodless cardiac surgery than for patients who chose the traditional route. It also found that, compared to transfusion patients, no-transfusion patients spent less time in the ICU; less total hospital time on average; and had a higher survival rate — 95 percent for Jehovah’s Witnesses versus 89 percent for patients overall.

Likewise, the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery noted that blood-management programs help hospitals reduce unneeded blood draws, reducing costs of acquiring and storing blood, which savings can be passed on to patients and insurance companies.

Come to Where the Expertise Is

Dr. Brisson has been helping patients relieve back pain for more than 25 years.  He eliminates the need for most transfusions through exceptional surgical skills which have earned him recognition by the Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Institute. He’s also listed with Castle Connolly as one of New York Metro’s Top Doctors — an honor repeatedly earned for 10 consecutive years. When you come to NY Spine Care, you’ll find the expertise and experience you need and the highest quality and standard of care beginning the moment you come through the door. Contact Dr. Brisson’s office today, to ask any questions or to schedule a consultation.

Find Relief from Neck Pain, Numbness, and Weakness

It’s crucial to get neck pain treatment as soon as possible to live a pain-free life and prevent the possibility of additional damage.

A Few Causes of Neck Pain

  1.   Disease — neck pain can be a side effect of rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, cancer and more.
  2.   Herniated disc — the cushions between vertebrae have a soft nucleus and tough shell. If any of the nucleus matter pushes through the shell, it can compress nerves.
  3.   Spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spinal canal pinches the nerves. Common to people over age 50,  osteoarthritis results from normal wear and tear, but treatment can relieve symptoms.
  4.   Muscle strains — overworking the muscles by spending too many hours hunched over your electronics or doing too many reps at the gym.
  5.   Whiplash — whenever the head is yanked back and forth quickly, the soft tissues of the neck might get stretched farther than they should.

If you experience acute neck pain plus confusion, drowsiness, fever, headache, light sensitivity or vomiting, cervical spine pain may be just a symptom of a more serious problem. You need neck pain treatment immediately to discover the underlying cause, which may be a medical emergency.

Surgery Options for Neck Pain

Neck pain treatment always starts with physical therapy. Options include stretching and exercise to relieve pain and increase range of motion; anti-inflammatory medications or muscle relaxants; steroidal injections at the location of the pain. When these don’t do enough, one of these neck pain surgery options may be indicated:

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) removes one or more herniated discs and joins two adjacent vertebrae together.

Cervical Spine Fusion joins two bones to help stabilize the neck; in some cases, titanium implants or plates join the vertebrae together until new bone grows between them.

Posterior Laminectomy and Laminoplasty reduce pinching on the nerves by removing the thin bony layer covering the spinal canal so a disc can move back into place while removing bone spurs in the canal.

Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion removes a whole vertebra or disc then joins surrounding vertebrae.

Complex Revision of an ACDF removes previously inserted implants and hardware which have failed or inserts new hardware, implants or additional bone grafts.

Dr. Brisson will always explain the details, risks, and benefits of any procedure. After 25 years in practice in Manhattan, Dr. Brisson has earned a reputation few physicians can match for relieving pain. Contact the office today if you need neck pain relief. The sooner treatment starts, the sooner you find relief.

Back Pain in the Morning? Here are Some Tips

Many people experience low back pain upon waking up, and Paul Brisson, MD, wants to help you alleviate that pain. Pain in the lumbar spine is common and can be debilitating, but it is also treatable. Before you decide you “just have to live with it”, you need to know the real problem and your options to fix that problem.

Why Do You Have Morning Back Pain?

  1. Serious diseases, including inflammatory back pain or fibromyalgia, are rare. If you have either condition, you’ll feel better just by getting up and moving around but you’ll probably have symptoms beyond morning pain.
  2. Disc degeneration includes spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, and other conditions. We can’t avoid growing old, but treatment can relieve much discomfort.
  3. Lifestyle-based chronic pain — stress, overdoing it at the gym (or never exercising) and poor sleeping posture are some causes. Once identified, your activities can be modified to reduce or eliminate pain.
  4. Incident-based acute pain — disc herniation, muscle tear, strain or spasm, ligament tear, to name a few. Treatment will prevent additional damage as it reduces symptoms.

Morning Back Stretches

A few simple moves can help a lot:

Full Back Flex — Lay on your back, pull both knees to your chest while pulling your head forward until you feel your lower back stretch.

Half Back Flex — Lay on your back with knees bent and heels on the floor, pull one knee with both hands toward the chest.

Kneeling Lunge — Kneel on one knee with the opposite foot flat on the floor and your hands atop the forward thigh, gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the kneeling leg.

New York City Spine Surgeon Testimonials

“Dr. Brisson is an excellent doctor. I have been treated by Dr. Brisson in the past. He was a 10 then, and nothing has changed. He is still a great doctor.”

– R. Hudson

“Dr. Brisson presents himself as a real human being: caring, kind, capable and a smart, dry sense of humor. I’m fortunate to have this surgeon for my spinal problems.’

– E. L. Worth

Read more here then contact us with questions so you can make a sound decision. Dr. Paul Brisson has been helping people get the right back pain treatment for 25 years and is acknowledged as the best back pain doctor in New York City. Isn’t it time you got the help you need?

Learn the Signs of Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition where your spinal discs start showing signs of pain and inflammation while performing daily functions. Not classified as a disease but a condition, the term “degenerative disc disease” has taken common use due to the serious symptoms that it brings, such as severe back pain.

Almost everyone is prone to this condition. This makes it extremely important to learn about its symptoms and seek professional help for degenerative disc disease treatment in New York if the signs call for it.

What is Degenerative Disc Disease?

All humans have various discs along in their spine that act as shock absorbers to the spinal bones. The discs are made up of two sections:

  • An outer layer that contains nerves (annulus fibrosus).
  • An inner, soft core (nucleus pulposus).

When we are born, about 80 percent of spinal discs are made up of water. But as we grow older, these discs dry out. This causes the discs to not absorb shocks as well as they did at a younger age.

This means that almost everyone goes through a degenerated disc in their life, even if they don’t feel pain due to the condition.

But for some, a degenerated disc could weaken to the point where it leads to back pain or inflammation with movement. This happens when the outer disc tears or if the inner core leaks its substance to the outer core or tissues. As a result, it can cause severe back pain and inflammation among other symptoms.

Other causes that can lead to a torn disc could be sports injuries or accidents. These can also contribute heavily to degenerative disc disease.

What are the Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease?

The most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain in various areas of your body.

Pain from degenerative disc disease often starts out as a dull ache and slowly progresses in intensity. But depending upon the location of the affected spinal disc, it could start with a sharp pain across your spine and neck as well. Common areas that are affected by pain include:

  • Neck
  • Upper back
  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Upper thighs

Back pain resulting from degenerative disc disease can be episodic or perpetual. If the pain gets severe when you move, sit, bend or lift, then you should immediately contact a professional for degenerative disc disease treatment in New York.

Treating Degenerative Disc Disease in New York

Finding degenerative disc disease treatment in New York is easy when you know about a professional who is credible, experienced, and proficient in their medical specialty.

As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist with more than 25 years of experience to his name, Dr. Paul Brisson is known as one of the top doctors in NYC.

Due to his dedication to his patients and his team’s proficient service at NY Spine Care, Dr. Brisson’s practice has been acknowledged by publications such as the New York Magazine, which highlighted him in its “Best Doctors in New York” issue.

If you have been experiencing any symptoms that are related to degenerative disc disease or have been going through neck or back pain of any kind, don’t hesitate from reaching out to Dr. Brisson at NY Spine Care today.

When Should I Worry About My Neck Pain?

Are you having neck pain in the New York area? Any kind of neck pain might be a sign of something more serious. Consulting with your doctor can help you understand what is causing your pain and hopefully relieve any worries about more severe health issues. Read on to learn more about some common neck pain issues and when you should see your doctor.

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Causes of Common Neck Pain

Have you ever had your cervical spine pain bother you? Your neck pain could just be a frequent cause from using your computer or other activities that make you bend your head several times a day. Some common reasons a person can experience neck pain include:

  • – Spinal stenosis
  • – Osteoarthritis
  • – Disc herniation
  • – Muscle Tear
  • – Neck strain or sprain
  • – Acute cervical pain
  • – Injuries
  • – Other diseases

However, sometimes your neck pain can radiate into other areas of the body such as your shoulders, arms, and hands. You can also experience other symptoms such as numbness and tingling.

Types of Neck Pain to Look Out For

For those who experience neck pain that is severe enough that they can’t stand it, you might want to get it checked out by a doctor. This doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, but it’s always a good idea to get it checked out. You should also look out for any neck pain that isn’t getting any better or worse. You don’t want it to progress further than it has to be, so try to consult your doctor right away. Your doctor can give you the neck pain relief you need.

When Should You See a Doctor About Neck Pain?

Most often neck pain isn’t anything to worry about. You might have just been bending your head too much at work. However, here are a few reasons to seek a doctor about your neck pain:

  • – Your neck pain lasts for more than 6 weeks
  • – A severe headache that comes on very fast
  • – Other symptoms that go along with your neck pain could indicate other health problems
  • – Neck pain along with nausea, dizziness, and/or vomiting
  • – Sensitivity to light
  • – Drowsiness
  • – Mood changes or confusion


If you feel any of these symptoms along with your neck pain, these could be signs of a more serious health issue. Checking with your doctor can help relieve your worries, so consult with your doctor to make sure it’s not an infection or other serious illness. If you visit Dr. Paul Brisson as your Orthopedic doctor, he will make sure he goes through every type of treatment option for you before thinking about surgery as an option.

If you live in or around New York, NY, consider NY Spine Care for your neck pain treatment in New York. Contact us today to set up an appointment with Dr. Paul Brisson. We offer the best care and services for every patient!

What You Should Know About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery is an operation to treat or reverse certain conditions without the trauma, hospitalization, and scarring of traditional procedures. It involves making a small incision and using small instruments and microscopic cameras. Tubular retractors, screws and rods, and the use of certain access routes can minimize trauma during these operations. Minimally invasive spine surgeries might include:

  1. Discetomy
  2. Spinal decompression
  3. Lumbar and spinal fusions

Conditions That Might Need Surgery

There are many conditions that can be treated using minimally invasive spine surgery. These conditions could include:

  1. Degenerative disc disease
  2. Herniated disc
  3. Lumbar spinal stenosis
  4. Spinal deformities, such as scoliosis
  5. Spinal infections
  6. Spinal instabilities
  7. Vertebral compression fractures
  8. Spinal tumors

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

The benefits of minimally invasive surgeries to patients suffering from these spinal conditions are numerous. They include, but are not limited to:

  1. Quicker surgeries
  2. Shorter postoperative recovery times
  3. Increased safety, due to the smaller incisions
  4. Reduced trauma to muscles and soft tissues
  5. Reduced risk of complications, such as infections and postoperative pain
  6. Minimal scarring, due to the smaller incisions
  7. Less blood loss during surgery
  8. Reduced risk of muscle damage
  9. Less rehabilitation required
  10. Less reliance on pain medications following surgery
  11. Less risk for adverse reactions to general anesthesia, due to only using local anesthesia

Schedule with the Best New York Spine Surgeon

To reap the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery, you need to find an expert surgeon who is experienced in these types of operations. Dr. Paul M. Brisson is the top spine surgeon in New York. His office in New York, New York, specializes in operations to treat back pain and neck pain. We turn to minimally invasive procedures first, and can also offer bloodless spine surgery for your back pain. We offer a variety of treatments in addition to surgical procedures, including:

  1. Acupuncture
  2. Massage
  3. Heat or cold compresses
  4. Pain medications
  5. Steroid injections

Contact New York Spine Care today to schedule a consultation for your back and neck pain treatment.

A New York Spine Specialist’s Tips on a Healthy Recovery After Surgery

If you suffer from back pain, you may need to have back surgery at some point. This can help to correct alignment and relieve pain. But before you can feel better and be rid of that pain, you still need to get through recovery. The recovery period can sometimes be lengthy and difficult. But you can help the process go more smoothly. Here are some tips to recover more quickly, plus advice on what to do if the back pain persists.

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The Road to a Fast Post-Surgery Recovery

The following tips will help you recover completely and quickly:

  1. Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions: This may seem obvious, but surprisingly, not every patient understands the importance of this step. Many people simply follow the instructions that they believe apply to them and ignore the others. You should follow all instructions, and if you have questions about whether something applies to you, ask your doctor.
  2. Keep Every Follow-Up Appointment: These appointments may seem routine, but they are essential for keeping your recovery on track. Your doctor may catch complications which otherwise would derail your recovery, but that cannot happen if you don’t attend the appointment.
  3. Prevent Infection: It’s not likely that you will be touching an incision on your back (unless it’s your lower back), but you should make sure that anyone who changes bandages or touches the incision washes their hands beforehand.
  4. Inspect the Incision: Use a mirror to check out your incision. If it is pink or red, has wound drainage, or has missing or damaged stitches or staples, it may be infected. When this happens, you should call your doctor immediately.
  5. Stay Hydrated and Eat Properly: If you are dehydrated or suffering from malnutrition, you will face problems with recovery. Drink plenty of water and eat according to your doctor’s instructions, including any special diet your doctor feels will help you. If you are nauseated or experience a loss of appetite, bring it up with your doctor. He or she may be able to provide medication to help you eat.

What to Do if Back Pain Persists

If you are experiencing back pain with no apparent relief, you may need to see a specialist who can help you with spine surgery or other treatments. Dr. Paul Brisson in New York, New York, can help you recover quickly so you can get on with your life. His office provides back pain treatments, starting with minimally invasive treatments. We offer several types of back surgery to correct your pain, including bloodless spine surgery. Contact Dr. Brisson’s office today to schedule a consultation for your back pain.

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