Finding a successful treatment for back pain

Dr Neil Cleaver

Dr Neil Cleaver (6).jpg

Back pain relating to the spine can be one of the most complex issues to treat, but South Coast Spine surgeon Dr Neil Cleaver has been successfully performing disc arthroplasty to improve the condition for more than a decade.

Dr Cleaver said there were a number of other treatment options for back pain, but many remained controversial, including spine devices that preserve motion, spinal fusion and non-surgical alternatives. 

He said while non-surgical alternatives were preferable in the treatment of back pain, they did not always work.

"When the problem is mechanical, often the best solution is also mechanical so in some cases, surgery is unavoidable," said Dr Cleaver.

"Disc replacement surgery to treat back pain is not a new concept, but the technology behind prostheses is constantly developing and I perform the surgery using the latest and most modern options.

“The ESP disc prosthesis is made in France with military technology and is recognised as the prosthesis that most accurately mimics the kinematics of a native disc.
“Modern retractors and light sources mean the LP-ESP for the lumbar spine and CP-ESP for the cervical spine can be implanted with minimal trauma to the patient. 
"Newly designed inserters mean all discs in the lumbar spine can be accessed via minimally invasive incisions.

“Access surgeons or vascular surgeons are now rarely needed, even for the higher levels in the lumbar region, because of this minimally invasive approach.”

Dr Cleaver said unwavering pain from the spine could significantly disrupt day-to-day function, and if standard treatments had failed, patients should consider disc arthroplasty. 

“Disc arthroplasty is recognised as a valid means of treating intractable back pain when radiographic investigations indicate the pain is originating from degenerating discs,” he said.

“Success from this type of treatment is defined as significant pain relief, maintenance or improvement in neurologic status, and when there is no severe device-related adverse event.

“Published results describe significant pain relief as being 50 per cent improvement, and this is what we see in our clinic, or better, on a regular basis.” 

Dr Cleaver said scientific measures aside, his clinic defined success as meeting patient expectations – which could vary greatly.

“Success to one individual might be pain relief, whereas for another it might be they no longer need to hire a wheelchair.

"I am dedicated to managing and helping patients whose expectations have not been met, for whatever reason, and also understand that financial considerations are almost as important as clinical ones.

“With this in mind, in many cases we can actually offer disc arthroplasty surgery at ‘no gap’ to our patients, provided their health fund covers the MBS item numbers that describe the surgery.” 

For more information contact:

South Coast Spine – The Spine Centre
151 The Smith Street Motorway
Southport, QLD, 4215
P: 1300 000 151
F: 1300 000 152

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