New high-tech method for back surgery at Jewish General can save time, reduce pain

SPINAL ENDOSCOPY

The Jewish General Hospital is the first hospital in Quebec - the second in Canada - to use a new surgical technique for herniated discs and pinched nerves that should reduce post-op pain and save time.

It's called spinal endoscopy.

It involves a small incision, a tiny tube, a miniature camera and an X-ray machine instead of the old-fashioned and more invasive surgery.

"The hole in the patient's back, if you will, was significantly larger to allow for you to look through the wound," said neurosurgeon Dr. Jeff Golan in an interview with CJAD 800.

"Now we don't look through the wound - we look at a camera and the incision is ten times smaller."

The old procedure lasted anywhere from 40-75 minutes; spinal endoscopy can save more than half the time depending on the severity of the case.

So far Golan has performed seven such surgeries. The new technique also means shorter recovery time and using a local and not a general anaesthetic.

"That is a huge advantage. These patients, they basically get up from the surgical bed and they sit down on the couch for an hour or two and then they go home as opposed to being in a hospital for several hours or several days," said Golan.

"So far the experience has been very good. The patients are happy that they wake up and they basically don't have any of the usual pain previous patients complained about."

The Jewish General is the second hospital in Canada to have used this procedure - a hospital in New Brunswick was the first.

Golan said he hopes more doctors will be trained for this procedure which he said he believes could be used for other procedures such as a better diagnosis of tissue for infections.