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Amazing success’: Awake spinal fusion at St. Vincent’s thought to be first in New England

By Admin | November 22, 2021

Just a few months ago, much of Edith Gooch’s life was defined by pain.

The 82-year-old Waterbury resident suffered from a condition called spondylolisthesis. As a result of her condition, one of the bones, or vertebra, in her spine, would slip out of place. Because of it, Gooch could do little without help or without pain.

“I couldn’t get my groceries,” she said. “(There was) no cooking.”

But, on Oct. 1, she underwent spinal fusion surgery at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport. Her doctors believe it is was the first awake spinal fusion surgery in New England, meaning that Gooch wasn’t under general anesthesia during the procedure.

She and her doctors spoke about the surgery during a press conference Monday at the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute Spine Wellness Center in Westport. St. Vincent’s is also now part of Hartford HealthCare.

“Awake neurosurgery is not new,” said Dr. Khalid Abbed, medical director of the Spine Wellness Center. “It is not a new invention. However, it’s not very common.”

One of the reasons that the procedure is still fairly rare is that it takes a team of professionals working together in a highly coordinated fashion, Abbed said.

If done correctly, awake spinal surgeries are thought to have lower risk and faster recovery than those in which general anesthesia is used, said Dr. Vijay Yanamadala, medical director of spine quality and surgical optimization at the Spine Wellness Center.

Given Gooch’s mobility issues, Yanamadala said, she needed a laminectomy and fusion procedure which would decompress the nerves and stabilize her spine, preventing it from...(More)

For more info please read, Amazing success’: Awake spinal fusion at St. Vincent’s thought to be first in New England, by ctpost

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