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2006 Press Releases
Morton Plant Mease Surgery Corrects Spinal Deformities Including Scoliosis

Mease Countryside Hospital Among Few Florida Locations to Offer Surgery

CLEARWATER, Fla., (July 5, 2006) - Spinal deformities can affect anyone at any age. Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, afflicts an estimated six million Americans including children, according to the National Scoliosis Foundation. Anthony P. Moreno, M.D., Morton Plant Mease orthopaedic spine surgeon and co-medical director of the Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center, is among only a few surgeons in Florida performing pedicle subtraction osteotomies to correct spinal deformities.

“The pedicle subtraction osteotomy is a life changing surgical procedure,” said Dr. Moreno. “Patients, who suffer from spinal deformities such as scoliosis or kyphosis, an excessive curvature of the spine, have endured years of back pain and often significant disability standing or sitting.”

The pedicle subtraction osteotomy procedure is performed at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor and involves removing a section of the spinal column, shortening and fusing the two ends of the column together, and realigning the spine so it is straight. Linkages along the spine are used to reshape it into a more normal physiological position, relieving pain and providing greater balance for the patient. The procedure can be performed on patients ages 15 to 80. It is often used to treat adults who underwent the Harrington Rod surgical procedure as children or teenagers.

“The Harrington Rod is a stainless steel or titanium rod placed in the back of a patient to correct imperfections in the spine. However, while the rod will correct side-to-side spinal curvatures, it does not restore swayback - an abnormal forward curvature of the spine - and may cause chronic pain,” said Dr. Moreno.

To ensure surgical accuracy, comfort and the safety of a patient during a pedicle subtraction osteotomy, the patient will also undergo intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring during the surgery. This involves the placing of an electrode the size of a pinhead in the scalp and stimulating the brain with an electrical signal that travels down the spine. The signal provides the orthopaedic spine surgeon with information about how the procedure is affecting nerves along the spine. Intraoperative neurophysiologic monitoring allows the patient to remain under general anesthesia and ensures the protection of the nervous system during surgery.

Established in 1985, Mease Countryside Hospital is a 229-bed facility committed to improving the health of everyone it serves. Since 1997 Mease Countryside has been awarded nine Top 100 Hospital designations in the areas of stroke, orthopaedic, intensive care and overall care by the Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success. In 2003, the hospital was awarded Magnet Designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the most prestigious national recognition of excellence in nursing care. Mease Countryside Hospital is located at 3231 McMullen Booth Rd., Safety Harbor, Fla., (727) 725-6111.

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