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2006 Press Releases
New Morton Plant Mease Minimally Invasive Surgery Relieves Debilitating Lower Back Pain

X STOP® Implant Helping Patients Stand & Walk Free of Pain

DUNEDIN, Fla., (May 22, 2006) - Morton Plant Mease Health Care is introducing a newly approved, minimally invasive surgical procedure that is allowing back pain suffers to stand tall without pain and numbness in the lower back and legs. The X STOP® Interspinous Process Decompression System implant is now being used by surgeons at Mease Dunedin Hospital to treat Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS).

"This new procedure represents a significant breakthrough in the treatment of lower back pain," said Lou Galdieri, administrator and chief operating officer, Mease Dunedin Hospital.

More than one million visits a year to physicians' offices are related to LSS symptoms, especially in patients over the age of 50. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is the thickening of ligaments and bone that surround the spinal canal causing the spinal cord and nerve fibers to become crowded and pinched resulting in pain and numbness in the back and legs when standing or walking. Typically, a patient with LSS must constantly sit or bend forward to flex or extend the spine, relieving pressure on pinched nerves.

The X STOP® is a titanium metal implant inserted through a small incision in a patient's back. It's placed behind the spinal cord, between two spinous processes, the thin bones in the back of your spine to which muscles and ligaments are attached. Wings on the sides of the implant are designed to prevent it from moving. By separating and keeping the area open, the X STOP prevents pressure on nerves and relieves pain. The procedure takes less than one hour and typically only requires a local anesthetic. Many patients are able to stand upright and walk out of the hospital the same day of the surgery. Morton Plant Mease physicians, Jed Weber, M.D. and John Shim, M.D., began performing the X STOP® procedure in February 2006.

"The X STOP procedure is a safe, effective treatment for relieving a common, debilitating ailment among back pain sufferers," said Jed Weber, M.D., neurosurgeon. "Because it is minimally invasive, the patient can recover more quickly."

"Without the X STOP procedure, treatments for patients with LSS are limited to analgesics and injections or more invasive surgery," adds John Shim, M.D., orthopaedic surgeon.

Dr. Weber and Dr. Shim are board certified physicians and members of the Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center at Mease Dunedin and Mease Countryside Hospitals. They specialize in minimally invasive surgery for the spine.

Traditional treatments for LSS include laminectomies, an invasive surgical procedure that involves removing parts of the bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal. Unlike the X STOP, a laminectomy is not a reversible procedure. It also requires general anesthesia, which some patients may not be able to tolerate because of their age and other health conditions.

The X STOP® was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) November 21, 2005.

Established in 1937, Mease Dunedin Hospital is a 173-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. In May 2005 Mease Dunedin was recognized as an industry leader in congestive heart care when it received the Premier Award for Quality from Premier Healthcare Informatics, a national alliance of not-for-profit hospitals and health care systems. Mease Dunedin Hospital is located at 601 Main St., Dunedin, Fla., (727) 733-1111.

Nationally recognized for health care excellence, Morton Plant Mease Health Care is dedicated to providing community owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. Morton Plant Mease Health Care is comprised of the following hospitals - Morton Plant, Clearwater; Mease Dunedin, Dunedin; Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey.

Contact: Beth Hardy (727) 298-6199 Phone, (727) 419-4471 Pager or Amy Morrow (727) 461-8538 Phone, (727) 468-7586 Pager