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Harrisburg Medical Center has done six endoscopic spine surgeries

Submitted by the Harrisburg Medical Center
Posted on 10/17/2017, 1:00 AM

HARRISBURG - While other, much larger, hospitals in other states are just now performing their first endoscopic minimally invasive spinal surgery, Harrisburg Medical Center has performed six, the center reports.

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons patients see their physician. Incidence of low back pain exceeds the incidence of both diabetes and cancer put together. Spine disc-related low back and leg pain is a major challenge and is the second most common reason patients visit their physician in the U.S. It is the leading cause of worldwide disability.

However, this disability can be reversed, if surgery is performed within the right time frame.

"Endoscopic minimally invasive spinal surgery is the first approach I choose because it allows us to achieve the same results as open surgery without burning any bridges," said Dr. Amit Bhandarkar with Prairie Spine Institute.

"By this, I mean, we are now able to relieve the patient's discogenic pain using the least invasive approach. Preservation of normal anatomy ensures rapid recovery and early return to work," he said.

Endoscopic spine surgery involves the use of the endoscope for visualization of the disc. The endoscope has a high definition camera at its tip and is inserted through a 6-mm incision, which is about the same width of a pencil. Through an endoscopic channel, surgeons can insert a radio frequency ablation probe, which works similar to a laser to shrink the herniated disc.

Advancement in spine technology enables these minimally invasive procedures to offer similar end results as the traditional, open, more invasive techniques, without disrupting any normal anatomy.

Compared to conventional disc surgery, endoscopic discectomy bypasses the requirement of cutting muscles, bone and ligament to access the disc space and give direct access through the foramen where the nerve roots exit. It should be noted, however, that this procedure is not the best option for everyone. Patients who have a disc herniation or foraminal stenosis causing symptoms in one leg, best benefit from this type of procedure.

"Harrisburg Medical Center is fully equipped to do such procedure," Bhandarkar said. "Patients see me in my office located in Marion for their initial visit, and the procedure is scheduled to be conducted at Harrisburg. This allows for a shorter wait time to proceed with the minimally invasive surgery as well as a shorter driving distance for the patient."

Several spine surgeries are offered at Harrisburg Medical Center. For more information on these services, visit,, or call Prairie Spine Institute at 1-800-SPINE-DR (1-800-774-6337).