Helping patients with spinal stenosis

Brandi BallSWFPC News

Procedure helping SWFL patients with spinal stenosis

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Bernard Uhlmann and Karen Nagel both know what it’s like to live with spinal stenosis in Southwest Florida.

“Really severe pain in my legs limiting my ability to walk,” Uhlmann said.

It’s a condition that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves in your back, causing a lot of pain.

About 30 million Americans suffer from spinal stenosis, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

The baby boomer generation is one of the largest groups of patients.

“It’s really hard to drag yourself around when you can’t do anything,” Nagel said.

But a small invention is solving that problem. What they do is take a device and put it in the spine. It spreads things out so your nerves don’t get pinched.

Dr. Robert Ball has been helping patients with this technique since 2016 in Port Charlotte. The Superion by Vertiflex was approved in 2015 by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Ball said the procedure is completely reversible. The procedure takes about an hour, and most patients walk out of the office the same day.

As for the risks?

“Any time there is an incision or injection made, there’s the risk of infection or bleeding,” Dr. Ball said.

For Nagel, this procedure allowed her to focus on her husband.

“My husband is very sick, and I have to take care of him, so I had to get right back in the swing of things,” Nagel said.

Uhlmann praised the procedure.

“I would do it again in a quick minute, because the results are very good.

Vertiflex said Port Charlotte is the only place to get the procedure done in Southwest Florida.

Dr. Ball said the procedure is covered by most insurance companies as well as medicare.