People in the Wausau area with a wide variety of back and neck problems will benefit from a new spine surgery program now available at Marshfield Clinic Weston Center.
This spine service will help adults with herniated discs, bone fractures and deformities of the spine, spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the channels through which nerves pass – and scoliosis.
The spine serves two major functions. It is the central support for the entire skeleton, so injuries and disorders can lead to many types of difficulties. It's also a tunnel through which all nerves travel on their way from the brain to the rest of the body.
"Whenever there is a narrowing or problem that affects nerves, you have issues with function or pain in areas served by that nerve," said Jason Potocki, M.D. "Getting the care you need – sometimes a simple spinal fusion -- can dramatically improve your quality of life."
Dr. Potocki is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in the spine. But the new spine program is about much more than surgically treating people with sore backs.
Marshfield Clinic orthopedic surgeons follow a conservative approach before surgery, because most back issues get better over time with therapy and medication. Surgery usually becomes necessary when there is increasing weakness in the arms; there is irritation in the spinal cord, neck or thoracic spine; or the problem has not been improved with conservative treatment.
Dr. Potocki is trained and experienced in 3D imaging surgery, which provides a more accurate assessment and ability to provide treatment as well as placement of screws. He is also trained in minimally invasive spine surgery, providing smaller incisions and lower infection rates."
Patients are usually on their feet the day after such surgery, although people may need a few more days to recover in some instances. Some patients can even return home the very next day after surgery.
"I enjoy the satisfaction of helping people overcome their back pain problems," he said. "I try to reassure people that spine surgery is not as big of an ordeal as it may sound, and that the majority of people who have spine surgery do get better."
Dr. Potocki is board-certified in orthopedic surgery. He earned his medical degree and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He also completed a spine surgery fellowship at Norton Leatherman Spine Center in Louisville, Ky.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 715-847-3542.