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St. Luke`s Medical Center performs state's first FDA approved artificial disk replacement procedures

Monday, November 15, 2004

MILWAUKEE, Wis, Today orthopedic spine surgeons at St. Luke’s Medical Center became the first in the state to use the Charité Artificial Disc in total disc replacement surgery. This morning, Stephen Robbins, MD and Clay Frank, MD each performed a case using the Charité Artificial Disc. This device treats severe low back pain by replacing a damaged or worn out spinal disc with an artificial one.

St. Luke’s is Wisconsin’s only designated training site for surgeons seeking mentorship and advanced training for artificial disc replacement surgery. St. Luke’s was selected by DePuy Spine, the artificial disc manufacturer, as the designated training facility in Wisconsin because of its work as a leader in performing spinal surgery and its dedication to care management.

``This device is the first artificial disc replacement approved by the Food and Drug Administration,`` says Dr. Robbins, an orthopedic spine surgeon at St. Luke’s. ``Until now, spine surgery could relieve a patient’s pain, however motion was limited. Now, we can reduce pain and preserve motion.``

The Charité Artificial Disc is made of two metallic endplates and a movable plastic center that, once implanted, is designed to help align the spine and preserve its ability to move. Spinal discs maintain the position of the spine and allow for the flexibility to bend and twist.

Lumbar spinal fusion surgery, a common surgical treatment for low back pain, can often reduce pain, but limits range of motion and may transfer extra stress to discs above and below the fusion site.

``Artificial disc patients can return to their normal routine faster,`` says Dr. Frank also from St. Luke’s. ``Some disc patients can return to work in just 12 weeks. That’s just half the time a spinal fusion patient could be out of work.``

The Charité Artificial Disc received Food and Drug Administration approval in late October. Drs. Robbins, Frank, and Tom Doers are the only surgeons in the state to be designated trainers and mentors.

The patients who received the discs this morning are recovering at St. Luke’s. They are expected to be discharged in two days.

St. Luke’s Medical Center is a part of Aurora Health Care, a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in 80 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Jennifer Gross (414-385-2363)

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