Less invasive back surgery has proven track record


by KING 5 HealthLink


Posted on December 20, 2010 at 6:49 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

Most people keep family photos in their wallets, but not Trish Kinkelaar. She carries x-rays.

Back in 2004, Trish had what was then a revolutionary spinal surgery called the X-Lif procedure. It's revolutionary because it involves an incision through the patient's side to remove the damaged disc and fuse the vertebrae.

"My incision is an inch, inch-and-a-half long and that's it," said Trish.

Trish remembers how her back failed her.

"It was scary, to the point where I could not walk," she said.

But she was leery of traditional open surgery which would have meant a long recovery, as much as year. Instead she became Dr. Richard Wohns' first X-Lif candidate.

"From 2004 to the present there hasn't been anything that has improved upon this technology or this minimally invasive route to the spine," said Dr. Wohn.

A few years later, Trish sent a photo from the top of Mount Whitney.

"Before your surgery, you weren't able to climb, couldn't really ...walk, exercise. Couldn't even walk," she said.

Since her surgery two things have changed. The design of the implant and the way Trish has been able to put her back back into her work.

"That surgery gave me my life back," she said.

Trish says she was walking without pain a week-and-a-half later.

Because the surgery is minimally invasive, Dr Wohns says it's also suitable for elderly patients.