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New Minimally-Invasive Surgery for Scoliosis Performed at Lenox Hill Hospital

August 20, 2002

Different Surgical Route Offers Less Scarring and Quicker Recovery

A new, minimally invasive surgery for scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, is now being performed at Lenox Hill Hospital. The procedure, which has evolved over the past five years, is performed endoscopically, through one-inch incisions, using video cameras and monitors.

Scoliosis, can affect people of all ages. Of every 1,000 children, three to five develop spinal curves that are considered large enough to require treatment. Scoliosis tends to run in families and girls tend to require surgery more often than boys. Large curvatures can eventually affect the patient's ability to breathe and is the primary reason for treatment.

Baron Lonner, MD, an Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, is one of only a few doctors in the country to perform this minimally invasive procedure. Rather than making a long incision along a patient's back, Dr. Lonner enters the patient's chest through several small incisions beneath the arm. "Working on the front of the spine allows more maneuverability and allows a better correction than a surgery done through the back," Dr. Lonner says. "It also produces cosmetically better results, less scarring, and a shorter recovery period. Patients also require less pain medication following surgery and are mobile earlier."

Dr. Lonner explained that fifty years ago, patients who underwent scoliosis surgery were confined to bed and a body cast for up to one year and the surgery only partially straightened their spines. The surgery also often left the rib cage twisted and a very long and unsightly scar.

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