Recent Posts

Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Simple change to surgical procedure makes huge impact on post- lower back surgery patients
Jul 28, 2015 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

lumbar-painRecently, at the 2015 International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine (ISSLS) annual meeting in San Francisco, CA, Emory spine surgeon, S. Tim Yoon, MD, won the “Best Podium Presentation” award. It was one of two papers chosen among 600 papers submitted and 80 papers presented. Dr. Yoon was recognized for his research relating to lumbar spine surgery. A summary of the recognition and study findings is below:

Purpose of Study:

Dr. Yoon and Emory University School of Medicine student, J. Stewart Buck,  analyzed 17,232 patient outcomes cases to look at the effect of spinal fluid leakage on cost and length of stay post lumbar (lower back) spine surgery. They looked at first time spinal fusion surgery of the lumbar spine for the treatment ofspinal stenosis (nerve pinch). Sometimes, during spinal surgery the covering around the spinal fluid (dura) becomes punctured [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
How Cell Phone Use Impacts Our Neck Over Time
Jul 21, 2015 By Daniel Refai, MD

neck-illustrationTechnology has become an incredibly integral part of our lives. As it has adapted and changed, so have humans in the 21st century; we’re constantly on our smartphones—texting, calling, checking our Facebook updates, often for hours every day—and it may have a significant detrimental effect on our bodies.

The average human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds in a neutral position--when your ears are over your shoulders. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine (neck) begins to increase, causing stress. According to a study in 2008, if you lean 15 degrees forward, it's as if your head weighs 27 pounds. If you lean 30 degrees, it's as if your head weighs 40 pounds. If you lean 45 degrees, it's 49 pounds. When you're hunched over at a 60 degree angle, like most of us are many times throughout the day, you're putting a 60 pound strain on your [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
National Recognition for Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center
Jul 14, 2015 By Emory Healthcare

boden-scottIn the May 2015 issue of Spine magazine, a special review section highlights the 100 most frequently cited research papers on lumbar (lower back) spine surgery. After reviewing more than 16,500 papers that matched the search criteria, the research team compiling the data determined 322 papers that were cited at least 100 times. One of the top three most frequently cited authors was Scott D. Boden, MD, director of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. “This [review] identifies those individuals whose contributions to the ever-growing body of knowledge have provided guidance and suggestions for further investigation,” says Samuel K. Cho, MD. Cho and his colleagues from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, performed the review. Earlier this year, Dr. Boden was recognized in the highly regarded medical publication Becker’s Spine Review as one of the top [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
How Aging Affects Your Cervical Spine – Part II: Arthritis of the Neck
Jul 7, 2015 By John Rhee, MD

NeckArthritis_ 7-7Cervical spondylosis refers to the degenerative process of the vertebral disks in the neck (arthritis). Like the rest of the body, the bones in the neck slowly degenerate as we age, which frequently results in arthritis. Most of the time, this condition causes mild to moderate neck pain and stiffness.

Causes:

Neck pain is extremely common, with more than 85% of people over age 60 being affected. It’s typically caused by chronic wear on the cervical spine as a result of aging. Facet joints in the neck become enlarged, causing the ligaments around the spinal canal to thicken and bone spurs to form. Over time, these changes can press down on (compress) one or more of the nerve roots. In advanced cases, the spinal cord becomes involved. Aside from aging, the other factors that can make a person more likely to develop spondylosis are:
  • Being overweight
  • Past neck or spine
[...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Takeaways from Dr. Mason’s Chat on How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races
Jul 3, 2015 By Emory Sports Medicine

Running Live ChatThank you for attending the live chat on How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races on Tuesday, June 9 with Emory Sports Medicine physician Amadeus Mason, MD. We had a great discussion, so thank you to all who participated and asked questions. From tips for preventing shin splints to advice on how to train for a 5K, we were thrilled with the number of people who were able to register and participate in the chat. (You can check out the transcript here). The response was so great that we had a few questions we were not able to answer during the chat so we will answer them below for your reference. Question: I have inflammation behind my knee. What can I do? Amadeus Mason, MDDr. Mason: Inflammation behind the knee can be due to a number of knee conditions. Baker’s cyst are common and can be caused by injury to the knee, arthritis, damage to the cartilage of the knee, and other [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Is it a Sprain? Or is it a Strain?
Jun 30, 2015 By Oluseun Olufade, M.D.

sprain vs strainA common question we field from patients with injuries is, “Is it a sprain? Or is it a strain?” While they both result in similar pain and symptoms, sprains and strains are actually different injuries that involve completely different parts of the body. A sprain is an injury that affects the ligaments, which are a type of connective tissue that connects bones to other bones. When a sprain occurs, the ligaments are either stretched or torn and depending on the severity of the stretching and tearing, can be very painful. Sprains most commonly affect the ankles, in particular the lateral (outside) portion of the ankle, which can occur from a variety of activities. Strains, on the other hand, affect the tendons, the fibrous connective tissue that connects muscles to bones, or the muscles themselves. Strains involve the stretching and/or tearing of these tendons or [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Emory Spine Patient Story: “I wanted to walk down my long driveway – I can now.”
Jun 17, 2015 By Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

By Sara Dollar, Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center patient Scoliosis PatientAt the age of 12, I started seeing a chiropractor. In my early teenage years, I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. Doctors told me that by the time I reached the age of 45, I might not be able to breathe if the scoliosis got bad enough. My spine was shaped like a perfect “S.” I had my first surgery in 1977, followed by several more surgeries. Surgery after surgery left me in excruciating pain. I lived my life, but because my spine was stuck in a bad position, I walked crooked, I couldn’t stand up straight, I couldn’t walk my dogs, and I couldn’t walk five feet without my back spasming. I had become like a hermit crab. In September 2014, I was referred to John M. Rhee, MD, a spinal surgeon at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center, because I had a very delicate problem that my former surgeons could not handle. [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
How Aging Affects Your Cervical Spine – Part I: Pinched Nerve
Jun 9, 2015 By John Rhee, MD

Pinched NerveThe cervical spine refers to that portion of the spinal column that is within our neck. This section of the spine has two essential roles: providing flexibility so that we can move our head up and down and side to side, and protecting the spinal cord nerves that pass through it. Cervical radiculopathy, or pinched nerve, tends to occur when the nerve roots are irritated or compressed by one of many conditions.

Cause

Cervical radiculopathy can occur in a wide variety of patients, with those younger than 50 tending to suffer as a result of disc herniations. Other than trauma or injury, degenerative conditions as a result of aging are the main cause of neck pain. As disks age, they lose height and the vertebrae move closer together, causing the body to respond by forming more bone—called spurs—around the disk to strengthen it. However, the spurs can also contribute to stiffening [...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
When Should You Consider Spine Surgery?
Jun 4, 2015 By Dr. Boden

Spine SurgeryHave you been told you need spine surgery? If so, it’s reasonable to feel anxious or overwhelmed, which is why it’s especially important to gather appropriate information you’ll need to be an active part of the decision-making process. Below are a few things to consider before spine surgery:

  1. Over 90% of back and neck problems can be resolved without surgery. Nonsurgical treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, ice, heat, spinal injections and physical therapy.
  2. Rates of recommending surgery for the same problem vary widely in different parts of the country (and world), suggesting that the criteria for surgery are not always clear.
  3. Surgery does not benefit every type of spinal condition. While some conditions have a high success rate after surgery, others have less predictable success rates following surgery.
  4. 98% of all spine surgery is technically elective
[...]

Read More | (0)
Orthopedics, Spine & Sports Medicine
Understanding Osteoarthritis
May 26, 2015 By Dr. Amadeus Mason

OsteoarthritisWhile “arthritis” is a commonly known disease, it is generally misunderstood. In fact, arthritis is not a single disease, rather a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Osteoarthritis (OA), which is also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting nearly 27 million Americans according to the Arthritis Foundation. Unlike other forms of inflammatory arthritis, OA is most common in older adults. It occurs when cartilage, the smooth, rubbery material that cushions each bone becomes thinned, damaged or worn away. The “wearing down” of cartilage leads to pain, swelling and joint stiffness, and as the disease continues to worsen over time, bone rubbing against bone can lead to joint damage and more intense pain. Osteoarthritis can affect any [...]

Read More | (0)