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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. 

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.

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?

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