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Featuring Andrew D. Wagenheim, PA-C

Cubs win, Cubs win. Is this the year the Cubs break the curse and win the World Series as predicted by Marty McFly in Back to the Future?

Can you believe it has been 30 years since the release of Back to the Future? Oh my, how things have changed. To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future, I decided to compare and contrast the trends in Spine Care from 1985 to the current trends in 2015.

  • The MRI was not invented yet- Today, the MRI is the standard test and is as common as an x-ray.
  • An injection of a dye had to be used for a CT scan- Which caused adhesions if multiple tests had to be done. Today, the CT scan is so advanced, that the dye is only used for special cases.
  • The spine microscope was not used in 1985- Today the spine microscope is standard to assist in removing a part of a disc.
  • Removing part of a single disc required 3-7 days stay in a hospital- Now it can be done as an outpatient or a one day stay.
  • In 1985, patients were allowed to smoke in their hospital beds- Now smoking in a room can cause a serious explosion with the oxygen that is used in hospitals. Also, we now know smoking can significantly inhibit the healing after surgery.
  • Osteoporosis and compression fractures were accepted as a given part of a woman’s aging and not treated- Today, vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures that can eliminate the pain from a recent fracture.
  • Bed rest for a week in the hospital was the standard to treat back pain- Today we get the patient moving as quickly as possible with physical therapy.
  • Lumbar fusions often failed in the 1980’s- The hardware used to stabilize the spine was not invented yet. Now we have lightweight and very strong screws and plates to fuse the spine.
  • The cell phone was not invented yet- So the doctors had a pager and had to keep change in their pockets to make emergency phone calls.
  • The artificial disc is now used for the cervical spine to replace a disc- This has only been developed over the past 10 years.

If you are having back pain or problems from a fall or another type of accident call the PinnacleHealth Spine Center at (877) 499-7746 or click here.

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About UPMC Harrisburg

UPMC Harrisburg is a nationally recognized leader in providing high-quality, patient-centered health care services in south central PA. and surrounding rural communities. UPMC Harrisburg includes seven acute care hospitals and over 160 outpatient clinics and ancillary facilities serving Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, York, Lancaster, Lebanon, Juniata, Franklin, Adams, and parts of Snyder counties. These locations care for more than 1.2 million area residents yearly, providing life-saving emergency care, essential primary care, and leading-edge diagnostic services. Its cardiovascular program is nationally recognized for its innovation and quality. It also leads the region with its cancer, neurology, transplant, obstetrics-gynecology, maternity care, and orthopaedic programs.

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