Dr. Light, described by many patients as “the doctor of last resort” for correcting previous neck and back surgeries, says that correcting a previous neck or back procedure can be difficult, especially when a fusion procedure has been done. “You must remove the hardware used in the previous procedure without causing any further injury to the affected area,” he says. “Then you start over again to fix the original problem. The best surgeries are those that are done right the first time.”
“A spinal fusion procedure is the technique used by the spine surgeon to address unstable vertebrae - spines that were slipping in various directions, or spines that were crooked, such as in scoliosis, to straighten and place the vertebra back into alignment,” says Dr. Light. “Spine surgeons still still have to perform spinal fusions for those conditions. The main disadvantage of a spinal fusion is that it makes the back abnormally stiff, and when the back is very stiff, it doesn’t function as it normally would. The discs allow the spine to have some kind of recoil, so when you walk there's some cushioning of the rest of the joints in your body. When you don’t have that cushioning any longer, it puts quite a lot of stress on the joints adjacent to the spine.”
“Spinal disc replacements originated in Europe about 20 years ago and the results were actually quite good,” says Dr. Light. “But it wasn't until about six or seven years ago that they were approved by the F.D.A. for use in the U.S.. I believe that they are the single greatest advancement in spinal surgery in the last 50 years.”
Dr. Light says that the recovery from spinal disc replacement surgery is much faster, there is less pain and spinal function can be close to that of a normal spine. “Disc replacement won’t make the spine abnormally stiff, and so the patient has much more movement, and they enjoy significantly more mobility,” he says.
For more information visit Dr. Kenneth Light's website:
http://www.drkennethlight.com or call 415.673.4500.
Dr. Light is featured in a recent T.V. news story in San Francisco:
Dr. Kenneth Light graduated from the Cornell University College of Medicine in New York City. He completed his residency in Orhopaedic Surgery at the University of California in San Francisco., and completed a fellowship in spinal surgery under the guidance of Edward H. Simmons at the State University of New York in Buffalo.
Dr. Light was director of the spine clinic at San Francisco General Hospital, and was founder and medical director of the San Francisco Spine Center at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery, is board certified with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and Assistant Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at University of California, San Francisco. He is currently in private practice in San Francisco where he specializes in reconstructive surgery in patients who have had failed back surgery.