Laparoscopic First at AAMC
The first laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) in Anne Arundel County was recently performed by Dr. Roy E. Bands at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The operating room resounded with cheers of congratulations as the minimally invasive procedure concluded successfully, mending a bad degenerative disc that had kept the 52-year-old patient in pain for years.
A procedure that without the laparoscopic technique can take up to five hours, requires extensive stitching, and a long recovery took Dr. Bands 2.5 hours and called for just several small incisions in the stomach. Instead of a regular three-day hospital stay, the patient was encouraged to move about immediately after surgery and went home the next day.
The three-part procedure begins with the removal of a bone graft from the iliac crest (hip) that is inserted into two titanium cages about an inch long. Secondly, the spine is exposed and the degenerative disk are removed. Finally, the two titanium cages are placed within the disk space. Over time, the bone graft will grow into the bone above and below.
Dr. Bands said that using laparoscopy to enter through the abdomen greatly reduces the post-operative pain, reduces the length of hospital stay and dramatically increases recovery time. Also, he said, it is less risky than entering through the back, because he can avoid unnecessary contact with the very sensitive spinal cord.
Dr. Bands said, "Degenerative disks within the spine are a main contributor to an epidemic of back pain within the US. This procedure will give many patients who can't afford a long recovery period better options."
Assisting Dr. Bands in the operation were AAMC general surgeon Dr. Henry Canton, anesthesiologist Dr. David Lange and three specially trained nurses — Natalie Wright, R.N., Lauren Tompkins, R.N. and Beverly Zuber, R.N.
"Great procedure. Great anesthesia. Great team," said Dr. Bands.