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Minimal Invasive Back Surgery | News

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Minimal Invasive Back Surgery
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RESTON, Va. (WUSA) -- Melba Purkey, a 71-year-old Chantilly resident, had been coping with back pain her entire adult life. It was so bad and hurt her so much she could barely walk or stand up straight.

Melba strained her back from years as a nurse and long hours on her feet. "I would say the last 2 years it has been very gradual the curve it started developing and getting worst it is just unbelievable how much pain you can have when you have those nerves," she said.

Melba was diagnosed with degenerate disk disease and scoliosis. But for Melba undergoing major traditional back surgery worried her. She didn't want to be laid up for months.

She was sent to spine surgeon Dr. Dhurv Pateder of Town Center Orthopedic who told her about XLIF, a minimally invasive procedure. With XLIF, a doctor can access the spinal column through the patient's side by only making a one-inch incision and cutting through less muscle than if they went through the back.

Dr. Pateder told us, "The way to think about the XLIF is if you think about the spine you have bones which are stacked on each other and in between the bones you have the disks and these are the disks that go bad and when they go bad they become flat and they become arthritic." He also added, " You work in the space around the spine so you are far away from the nerve and what you do is you actually remove the disk and you put a spacer in to kind of jack open the space so you create room for the nerve."

The surgery can take a half-an-hour up to two hours depending on the patient. Melba's surgery was on the higher end because Dr. Pateder also fixed her scoliosis. As for recovery time most XLIF patients report it only takes about six to twelve weeks.

Melba got back on her feet and doing the things she has always loved doing. "I am really doing just about everything that I want to do at my age. I love going out and working in the yard" she shared with us.

In the past patients eligible for XLIF were very limited. But now the procedure is an option for most people with back problems any where along the spine. And some doctors like Dr. Pateder are using XLIF for scoliosis surgery.

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