News Seton Spine & Scoliosis Surgeon Performs New, Innovative Back Procedure

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AUSTIN, TX- (Jan. 25, 2010) - Seton Spine and Scoliosis neurosurgeon, Dr. John Stokes performed the new YESS back procedure on a 62-year-old Austin woman suffering from a herniated disc.

Millions of Americans experience back and leg pain often caused by herniated discs. A herniated disc occurs when the cushion between the spinal vertebra is pushed outside from its normal location. It can cause excruciating back and leg pain, numbness or weakness.

The YESS procedure is a minimally-invasive spinal procedure designed to relieve symptoms caused by herniated discs pressing on nerves.

With the patient awake, Dr. Stokes made a ¼ inch incision several inches away from the midline of the back and inserted a camera (endoscope) to view the affected area.

Through the endoscope, he then used instruments to remove only the affected, bulging part of the disc causing the pain, numbness and weakness. The rest of the spine, including the bones and ligaments, remained in tact allowing for a faster recovery.

"The YESS procedure allows me to go around the spinal column instead of going through it to remove the diseased disc," explains Dr. John Stokes. "This less invasive and targeted approach prevents me from removing bone or disrupting ligaments. The herniated portion of the disc is simply removed with a combination of grasping instruments, laser and cautery. This speeds up the patient's recovery after the procedure."

Before the YESS procedure, Austin resident Kathy Johnson suffered from excruciating leg pain which affected all aspects of her life.

"It was the worst pain I've ever experienced. I wasn't able to stand for more than a minute or two," explains Johnson. "Right after the procedure I was a little sore, but the shooting leg pain was gone and my weakness began to resolve."

The YESS procedure is performed using only sedation and a local anesthetic and doesn't require a hospital stay. Patients typically need a day of rest and most return to normal activity within one to six weeks.

Dr. Stokes is a spine fellowship-trained, board certified neurosurgeon with a practice entirely focused on spinal surgery.

About the Seton Brain & Spine Institute
The Seton Brain and Spine Institute, a member of the Seton Family of Hospitals, offers a variety of programs to help patients with disorders of the brain and spine. These programs include stroke, epilepsy, tumors, aneurysms and vascular malformations, spasticity and movement disorders, head injuries, spinal disorders and scoliosis.

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