Rockford Spine Center’s Dr. Michael Roh and his team recently attended the Cervical Spine Research Society’s 47th Annual Meeting in New York City, where topic highlights included cervical disc replacements and management of asymptomatic spinal cord compression.
The society is the premier authority on cutting-edge techniques and research related to the cervical spine (the neck). Dr. Roh and his team, Physician Assistant Matt Schwabero and Nurse Casey Enna, travel to the conference every few years to stay current on the latest cervical techniques and research.
Cervical spine care – from diagnosis to treatment – represents a large part of Rockford Spine Center’s practice in addition to care for the lumbar spine (lower back) and thoracic spine (mid-back).
Dr. Roh noted that some of the most interesting discussions centered on cervical disc replacement, which Rockford Spine Center has been doing since 2008. Research has shown it offers significant advantages over cervical spine fusion for individuals who qualify and who are deemed good candidates for the procedure.
“More and more surgeons are focused on motion preservation. In our experience, patients who have disc replacements do great,” Dr. Roh said. “It’s an outpatient surgery that results in no loss of motion. There are no restrictions after surgery and patients don’t have to wear a collar.”
The conference also included research about long-term follow-up of patients who have a compressed spinal cord in the neck but have no symptoms. One study showed that over a 10-year timespan, about 25% of patients dealing with this issue did need eventually surgery.
“The data suggest that it is not mandatory to operate on all patients in absence of symptoms, but a significant number of individuals did need and have surgery,” Dr. Roh noted.
The conference visit was productive and educational, and it “reaffirmed that we’re providing cutting-edge care here in Rockford and that everything that’s considered the latest and greatest we’ve been implementing here for many years,” Dr. Roh said.