Lumbar Artificial Disc Replacement Through the Belly Button
A first-of-its-kind surgery in the United States was recently performed by two Vail-Summit Orthopaedics surgeons at Summit Medical Center in Frisco.
Dr. Ernest Braxton and Dr. Jonathan Schoeff completed the trans-umbilical (belly button) implantation of lumbar artificial disc, allowing the patient to heal without any scarring on the belly. The method patent holder for natural orifice surgery to the spine is Raymond Cloutier, who Dr. Braxton said confirmed that Vail-Summit Orthopaedics had in fact performed the first of these procedures in the United States.
Dr. Braxton said this particular procedure corrects a degenerated disc in the spine that causes debilitating pain. The more common surgical correction would be to fuse two bones together in a procedure known as a spinal fusion operation. However, that procedure can end up creating more stress on the body, sometimes resulting in something called adjacent segment disease which can necessitate more surgery in the future.
Dr. Braxton said he’s done hundreds of artificial disc surgeries through the skin in the abdomen, but this is a first doing the implant via the belly button.
“It is more difficult to do it this way,” Dr. Braxton said. “It really depends on the anatomy of each patient. I wouldn’t want to compromise the success of the operation by trying to minimize the scar, but in this case this patient just happened to have favorable anatomy.”