Lenke named chief of spine surgery

Lawrence G. Lenke, MD, has been appointed chief of spinal surgery in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He succeeds Keith H. Bridwell, MD, head of the spine service for the past 28 years.

Low vitamin D common in spine surgery patients

A new study indicates that many patients undergoing spine surgery have low levels of vitamin D, which may delay their recovery. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, and patients with a deficiency can have difficulty producing new bone, which can, in turn, interfere with healing following spine surgery.

Pain in the back

Surgeons use a Sextant to help precisely implant screws and rods in a minimally invasive way.Back surgery — typically an intimidating prospect fraught with tales of post-operative pain — is being performed with less pain, less blood loss and fewer days recovering in the hospital, thanks to a combination of minimally invasive surgical techniques. According to Neill M. Wright, M.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the School of Medicine is one of the few centers in the country using this combination of techniques, but promising results may inspire others to follow suit. Spine surgeons have been trying to limit post-operative pain from back surgery using the same ideas that made gallbladder and knee surgeries less invasive.