Back Jack Eases Pain

Thirty-one-million Americans complain of back pain. It's a leading contributor to missed work, the second most common reason people go to the doctor, and costs 50-billion dollars a year. As Robyn Haines reports, surgeons turned to an unlikely place for inspiration and developed a technique to get patients back on their feet faster. Orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Hyun Bae says they mechanically impart lift between two vertebral segments during the procedure. Dr. Bae works for the St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, CA. The back jack surgery helped Janie Lee, diagnosed with stenosis, a narrowing of the spine that puts pressure on nerves. In the past, patients like Janie needed a spinal fusion. Instead, doctor Bae chisels out bone to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Then he places a “jack” to prop up the spine, stopping the bone and pain from coming back. It shortens hospital stays from three nights to one. Patients don't have to wear a back brace and it cuts recovery from two months to two to four weeks.

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