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Holy Cross Hospital Pioneers Mimimally Invasive Surgery to Treat Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Totalis Procedure Before and After Photo

Medical condition is the leading cause of spinal surgery in the elderly

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  – Holy Cross Medical Group interventional spine and pain medicine specialists William Porter McRoberts, M.D. and Paul W. Wu, M.D. are among the first in the nation to perform the minimally invasive Totalis™ Direct Decompression procedure to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal passageways in the lower back, which is the leading cause of spinal surgery in the elderly. 

Cleared by the FDA in November 2012 and first performed at the Napa Surgery Center in March of this year and at Holy Cross Hospital in August, VertiFlex Inc.’s Totalis Direct Decompression System can be performed under local anesthesia.  The procedure involves a small single midline incision and sequential dilation to a working cannula, or tube, about the size of a dime. Specialty instruments designed for precision and safety enable physicians to remove ligament, bone, and facet capsule material that are squeezing the spinal cord.

“The Totalis procedure removes more tissue while leaving the structural elements of the spine intact and may have higher clinical success,” said Dr. McRoberts, who with Dr. Wu received specialized training in the procedure.  “In addition to faster recovery times than more invasive forms of surgery, we have had some excellent and inspiring success with patients reporting greater relief from pain.”

Lumbar spinal stenosis can cause pain and is caused by changes in the shape and size of the spinal canal as people age and by other degenerative conditions such as bone spur growth, ligament thickening, loss of disc height and disk bulging.

The condition is most common in people over 50 years old and may continue to progress with age.  Common symptoms include: leg, buttock and groin pain; numbness, weakness, cramping or stiffness in the legs or buttocks; low back pain; difficulty walking or standing; and, in severe cases, loss of bladder and bowel control.

Other treatments for the condition include physical therapy, pain medication, spinal injections and direct compression, spinal fusion or indirect compression surgeries.
For more information, contact Interventional Spine and Pain Medicine at 954-229-7962.

About Holy Cross Hospital

A member of CHE Trinity Health, Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is a full-service, non-profit Catholic hospital, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Since opening its doors in 1955, the 559-bed hospital has offered progressive services and programs to meet the evolving healthcare needs of Broward County. Today, Holy Cross has more than 600 physicians on staff representing more than 40 specialties and more than 3,000 employees. To learn more about Holy, visit, “like” Holy Cross Hospital, Fort Lauderdale on Facebook, or follow @holycrossfl on Twitter.

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