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Spine Institute of Louisiana Offers Cervical Spine Motion Preservation as an Alternative to Fusion Surgery



SHREVEPORT, La., Sept. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Spine Institute of Louisiana, in conjunction with SpineMark Corporation, is now offering cervical spine motion preservation procedures as an alternative to the traditional fusion surgery typically used for cervical spine damage. To provide patients with alternative surgical options, Spine Institute of Louisiana is now enrolling patients in several clinical trials using motion preservation spinal devices aimed at maintaining natural movement. As part of this initiative, Dr. Pierce Nunley, medical director of the institute, recently performed the first ever two-level total disc replacement of the neck in the state of Louisiana.

Spinal fusion has been the standard surgical care for numerous spine conditions such as scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, instability of the spine or spinal fractures. Unlike spinal fusion, which achieves pain relief through immobilization, artificial discs maintain motion at the operative level once the damaged disc has been removed. Furthermore, artificial disc replacements provide a more rapid return to activity than fusion surgery, which requires time for the bone graft to grow into a solid mass for stabilization.

One such motion preservation trial involving patients with degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, commonly known as a herniated, ruptured or slipped disc, involves the replacement of the diseased disc with an artificial disc. In a special case that qualified for treatment within the study, Dr. Nunley conducted a two-level replacement -- a procedure that replaces two damaged discs sitting atop one another -- the first ever in the state of Louisiana. The beneficiary of this investigational procedure is Darrel Betha, a 46-year-old hurricane Katrina evacuee who had been suffering from neck and arm pain since 2004 following a work-place accident, and is now living pain free.

"At one point in time, I couldn't lift my right arm without pain and numbness in my arm, neck, shoulder and back," said Darrell Betha. "Now, I don't feel the pain."

Betha, a welder of twelve years prior to suffering an injury on the job in 2004 and has been out of work since, is looking forward to a speedy recovery and a return to work.

"Motion preservation procedures provide patients with an opportunity to evaluate various treatment options to address their neck and spine problems," said Dr. Pierce D. Nunley, of the Spine Institute of Louisiana. "We are thrilled to be able to offer these cutting edge procedures to patients at our facility. It allows us to find the treatment option that best fits each individual patient, and we are able to successfully treat the majority of our patients with conservative treatment modalities and identify those patients who truly need surgery."

"While fusions continue to be the standard, motion preservation is at the forefront of advances in spine care," said Marcy Rogers, president and CEO of SpineMark Corporation. "We value the opportunity to participate in trials that could lead to additional treatment options for patients in search of a therapy that is right for them."

SpineMark Corporation, headquartered in San Diego, manages a network of clinical trial sites across the country specializing in spine and back treatment, and played an integral role in bringing this clinical study to the Spine Institute of Louisiana.

About the Spine Institute of Louisiana

Spine Institute of Louisiana is dedicated to the non-operative and operative treatment of various disorders of the spine. The physicians at the institute specialize in treating both simple and complex neck and back problems. For more information about the Spine Institute of Louisiana and the various clinical trials please contact them by phone at (318) 629-5585 or online at

About SpineMark

SpineMark Corporation, headquartered in San Diego, combines the clinical, business development, contracting, marketing and research expertise to establish Spine Centers of Excellence. Formed as a joint venture between Texas Back Institute Holdings and Management Technology Resources, the two entities are dedicated to unite all of the necessary experience and expertise under the management of recognized leaders in both the business and medical world of spine care. To learn more about SpineMark visit:


Jason Spark

Media Relations for SpineMark

Porter Novelli Life Sciences


Marnie Neu

Media Relations for Spine Institute of Louisiana


SOURCE SpineMark Corporation
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