(10/23/13) - One in three back surgeries will result in failure. When a procedure goes wrong, patients are often left with few options. But there may be a way to fix some of those.
"I've probably made hundreds of quilts," says Sharion Wilton.
But quilting was just too painful for Sharion after she injured her spine 15 years ago.
It happened after she passed out and fell in her bathroom one night, "I put my head through the wall, so I caved in the wall."
Excruciating neck pain and migraines followed, Sharion says, "like a hot poker in my back."
She had a spinal fusion to fix the problem, but over time, the discs surrounding her fusion disintegrated.
Dr. Kenneth Light says Sharion's spine was fused in an awkward position, "and what it did was it made the discs above work twice as hard when the patient looked straight ahead."
Dr. Light cut where it the spine had been fused, straightened it, and replaced the faulty discs with two artificial implants.
"By cutting the fusion here and putting the disc replacement in, it allowed the spine to straighten itself," Light says.
Sharion was one of the first patients in America to have the surgery, "I feel like a brand new woman, I do. I feel like I got my life back."
The disc replacements should last a lifetime. In rare cases, the implants can migrate into the bone, but Dr. Light says that risk is extremely unusual.
Spinal implants have been used in Europe for over 30 years, but have only been used in the US for about seven.
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