Innovative procedure gets Sydney woman back on her feet


Pam Russell is on top of the world after becoming the first patient to undergo an innovative spinal procedure at Sydney’s St George Private Hospital.

The 60-year-old has long suffered from spinal canal stenosis and spondylolysis – a narrowed spinal canal and slipped vertebrae.

The conditions meant Ms Russell struggled to walk or sleep for long periods of time.

But she is no longer in pain after successfully undergoing a procedure using the innovative 3D Next Generation O-Arm surgical imaging system.

“Everything in my life was planned around my pain and that meant two Nurofen and a hot shower every morning,” Ms Russell told the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.

“It was a huge decision and spinal surgery is not something anyone takes lightly. I’m pleased I tried conservative methods like Pilates and physio which helped, but they weren’t enough in the end.

“A few weeks post-surgery, I am able to walk and stand for long periods without pain. It’s the best I’ve felt for years.”

St George Private is one of just two hospitals in Australia to offer the innovative Next Generation O-Arm technology to spinal surgery patients.

The system allows surgeons to take real-time three-dimensional images during surgery, which enhances the accuracy of screw placement in a patient’s spine.

The device is also useful before a procedure, with doctors able to take and use images to plot the best way of reaching the targeted area.

Mark Davies, a neurosurgeon at St George Private, likened the technology to a global positioning system. He said it would help improve accuracy and patient safety.

“Combining the image quality of a CT scanner in the operating room with what is essentially a GPS for surgeons, this technology allows doctors to more easily navigate around the delicate spinal structures,” Dr Davies said.


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