1. Dr. Cynthia Africk joins FirstHealth Neurosurgery: 5 key notes

Written by Laura Dyrda | Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:00
Neurosurgeon Cynthia Zane Africk, MD, joined FirstHealth Neurosurgery, according to a Daily Health report.
Treating back pain and other spinal conditions can cost more than $200 billion annually in the United States, with $90 billion in direct costs. There are several factors contributing to the ever-increasing cost of care, including hospital costs, device costs, pharmaceuticals and post-surgical care.
Sacral insufficiency fractures are an often under diagnosed condition in the elderly population, typically presenting with severe low back pain resulting in immobility. The diagnosis can be complicated by the fact that radiographic assessment of the sacrum is difficult and lower spine (lumbar) imaging is frequently not specifically targeted at the sacrum. Sacral vertebroplasty, a procedural extension of percutaneous vertebroplasty, involves the injection of bone cement into the sacrum with the aim of alleviating pain and facilitating more rapid mobilization than conservative therapy alone allows.

4. Coding updates for sacroplasty in 2015

Written by Laura Dyrda | Tuesday, 24 November 2015 00:00
The American Medical Association changed the language in the Category I CPT codes for vertebroplasty effective January 1, 2015. The update added sacral and cervical to the applicable vertebroplasty code descriptors and included changes to the code numbers and bundled imaging, moderate sedation and the use of bone biopsy for the procedures.

5. 5 things to know about post-ACDF pneumonia risk

Written by Laura Dyrda | Tuesday, 24 November 2015 00:00
A new study published in The Spine Journal examines patients who contracted postoperative pneumonia after anterior cervical decompression and fusion.
The European Commission granted Novartis International approval for Cosentyx, which treats people with ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, according to MarketWatch. 
Alexander Jaworski, PhD, a neuroscience assistant professor at Brown University in Providence, R.I., studied how neurons connect across the spinal cord, according to Health Canal.
A new study published in Spine examines prescription opioid use after lumbar fusion for workers compensation patients.
The new SCI-FIT gym, in Berkeley, Calif., on the Ed Roberts Campus, offers a five-part exercise program focused on spinal cord rehabilitation, according to Berkeleyside. 'SCI' indicates 'spinal cord injury,' and 'FIT' indicates 'functional integrated therapy.'
Said Osman, MD, of Frederick, Md.-based American Spine, performed the first endoscope lamino-foraminoplasty surgery with decompression of the nerve root.
K. Linnea Welton, MD, of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor led a study about how patients understood spine surgeons' compensation, according to DoctorsLounge.

12. The theory behind Geisinger's spine surgery refund

Written by Laura Dyrda | Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00
When your cup of coffee at Starbucks doesn't taste right, you can exchange it for another. When what you ordered on Amazon isn't exactly correct, you can send it back for a refund. When you aren't satisfied with your experience at a restaurant or hotel, you get credit toward your next meal or stay. What if the same were true for spine surgery?

13. Student seeks to rebuild body movement — 5 key facts

Written by Allison Sobczak | Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00
Benjamin Nudelman is researching better ways to help paraplegic patients with body movement, according to The Observer.
The Alliance for Balanced Pain Management held its second National Summit on ways to increase access to integrated pain management.
Blackfoot-based Idaho Doctors' Hospital received Press Ganey's "Pinnacle of Excellence Award for Patient Experience," according to EastIdahoNews.com. The hospital is owned by Bingham Memorial Hospital, also located in Blackfoot.
The multipotent adult progenitor cells used in Athersys' MultiStem cell therapy improved the animals' health after acute rodent spinal cord injury. Athersys is a biotechnology company headquartered in Cleveland.
John C. Gensel, PhD, of the University of Kentucky Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center in Lexington, received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, according to University of Kentucky News.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond named Alex Valadka, MD, as chair of the department of neurosurgery.

19. How ICD-10 affects 2 spine practices one month in

Written by Anuja Vaidya | Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00
Here two spine surgeons discuss how ICD-10 has affected their respective practices.
A new study published in The Spine Journal examined how the patient's race and hospital environment affects care for cervical spine fractures.
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