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Health Beat: Help for severe spine pain: The BoneScalpel

Published On: May 08 2013 02:33:35 PM CDT
Updated On: May 08 2013 04:38:27 PM CDT

Nine million Americans suffer neck pain brought on by the narrowing of the spinal cord, but doctors now have a new tool that could help.

Nine million Americans suffer neck pain brought on by the narrowing of the spinal cord, but doctors now have a new tool that could help.

The risk of a narrowing spinal cord increases as we age and could cause major problems.

Sandra Lee can’t play the piano like she used to because of severe spinal pain. Cervical stenosis in her neck has taken away her coordination and more. She has to use a walker.

"I had no feeling whatsoever throughout my whole body," said Sandra.

That, however, has changed thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Cantor, director of the South Florida Spine Clinic. He's using a new device called a "BoneScalpel." He said it's "an ultrasonic tool to essentially melt the bone” that doctors then use to perform a laminoplasty on Sandra's neck.

"So essentially, what we are going to do is take the pinched area of the cord and open it so it is no longer compressed," Cantor explained.

The BoneScalpel can help relieve numbness and pain through a one and a half inch incision on the back of the neck without limiting mobility.

The BoneScalpel can even break through an egg shell without damaging the membrane underneath.

During surgery, the device causes less bleeding and less damage to surrounding tissue and muscle compared to the traditional technique.

Just days after surgery, Lee's walking without a walker, and she’s hopeful the feeling will soon return to her limbs.

The doctor said there’s a 60 percent chance that will happen.

Several studies found the BoneScalpel is safe and effective for spinal surgery. Similar techniques could also be applied to head and neck cancer patients.

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