Relieving Chronic Back and Leg Pain

7/4/2008 TAMPA, Fla. Most people don't enjoy spring cleaning. Barbara Mulvihill does. For seven months, she lived with severe pain in her back and shooting down her leg.

"People would look at me and say, 'Barb, you can just see the pain in your face,' and I'd say, 'I know. I hurt,'" Mulvihill says.

She had spinal stenosis -- a common arthritic condition in the spine. Dr. Antonio Castellvi says typically, he would do a fusion surgery -- putting two rods in her back. But there's a new option called the TFAS device.

"It reproduces normal to near normal motion as compared to some of the other devices we are seeing out there," says Antonio Castellvi, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon with Florida Orthopedic Institute in Tampa, Fla.

The TFAS device allows more movement, compared to a rigid spinal fusion surgery.

"We are able to stabilize the spine -- eliminate the pain that comes from the facet joints and still allow motion," Dr. Castellvi says.

Dr. Castellvi has performed 15 TFAS surgeries -- only 150 have been done worldwide. Results have been excellent.

"We know how it works. We know why it works. What we don't know with certainty is will it be functioning and doing very well ten years from now or 15 years from now," Dr. Castellvi says.

Mulvihill says the implant allowed her to get back to life without pain.

"I was just so glad I thought, 'Woo -- I can move. I can walk. It doesn't hurt me,'" Mulvihill says.

And that means she can also get back to her favorite hobby -- piddling in her garden.

The TFAS device is still in clinical trial and is not FDA approved. The study will compare the results of patients who get the TFAS to those that have the standard fusion surgery.

Will Darnall
University Community Hospital
(813) 615-7395

Patrick O'Connor
Sr. Marketing Manager
Archus Orthopedics Inc.
(425) 284-3683

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