NBC – Breakthrough Procedure Uses Tiny Scope – A breakthrough procedure may cure the problem without major surgery for herniated disc treatment


Breakthrough Procedure Uses Tiny Scope

Four out of five Americans suffer low back pain at some point in their lives. Therapy and medicine don’t always provide a cure, so sometimes spine surgery is necessary. Fortunately, a new procedure is the simplest kind yet: far less painful and traumatic than traditional approaches to spine surgery.

Mitchell Scott’s back had been hurting for 20 years. It got especially bad last fall when he did some heavy lifting while gardening. “It started out with a twinge right next to my tailbone and got worse every day,” he said.

MRIs showed that Scott had two herniated discs. Medicines and physical therapy failed to help, but Scott didn’t want major surgery. So he turned to the Internet, where he found Dr. David Ditsworth’s web site, which explained an alternative. Ditsworth calls his approach “small endocscopic discectomy.” He simply removes pieces of the herniated discs through a tiny scope.

“It looked like a great way to treat a herniated disc,” said Scott.

“It’s a procedure that requires precise planning and mapping to come exactly to the area in the spine that needs to be treated,” said Ditsworth.

That planning begins with a test called a discogram. After numbing the area, Ditsworth injects dye into the bad disc. A CAT scan then shows the exact route he has to follow with the scope in order to cure the problem.

When Scott went into surgery, he remained awake as the doctor numbed his back and made a very small incision — only about two-tenths of an inch. Using the CAT scan as a guide, Ditsworth inserted the scope and a tiny grasper, used to remove disc fragments that are pressing on nerves.

It took only about 30 minutes to treat the first disc. The second disc took even less time. With only a bandage covering the incisions, Scott was able to leave the hospital just a couple of hours later.

After spending the night with his parents in La Crescenta, Scott was ready to head home to Templeton, in time for his daughter’s soccer game.

“It’ll be hard for her to believe that I had back surgery one day and came to her soccer game the next day. I feel great,” Scott said.

NBC4 spoke to Scott three weeks after the operation. He said the pain he’s had for 20 years is gone.

You can contact Dr. David Ditsworth by phone at (800) 956-6724