Awake spinal fusion lauded by Colorado neurosurgeon

Alan Condon -  

Ernest Braxton, MD, has laid out three key advantages of awake spinal fusion, a procedure that he first performed in 2016, Summit Daily reported June 14.

Awake spinal fusion involves giving patients a local anesthetic to let surgeons examine their neurologic condition during surgery.

The novel procedure helps surgeons ensure that no damage is being done to the patient. It also eliminates the need to use intravenous narcotics and reduces the cost of stay, according to the report.

Patients can actually feel the relief on the operating table after their problem is surgically addressed. Then, surgeons test a motion, such as a leg movement that previously caused pain, to ensure the patient's pain is gone.   

"It allows me to be more delicate with neurological structures and creates a more professional atmosphere that is centered on patient care, and patients seem to recover better because of more gentle handling of the tissue," Dr. Braxton told Summit Daily. "If it doesn't hurt during surgery, usually it doesn't hurt after surgery."

Four years ago, Dr. Braxton left his post as chief of neurosurgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center to join Vail (Colo.) Summit Orthopaedics and Neurosurgery.

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