Texas Back Institute Best Doctors
Every year physicians from all over Dallas and Collin County vote on their peers to become D Magazine’s Best Docs. Texas Back Institute has a long running history of representing some of the Best Doctors in Dallas and Collin counties. D Magazine has just published the 2013 Collin County Best Doctors list. Congratulations to (photo left to right) Drs. Jack Zigler, Isador Lieberman, Sharon Gibbs, Nayan Patel, Renato Bosita, Scott Blumenthal, and James Cable, also not in the photo Dr. Ralph Rashbaum and Dr. Michael Hisey.
Read the full text of the feature here:
Texas Back Institute (TBI) has served the North Texas area in spine care for more than 35 years. An uncompromising desire to put patients first and give individualized care has helped change the face of treatment options for neck and back pain.Today, TBI is a leader in artificial disc replacement, minimally invasive spine surgery, complex revision surgery, and treatment of spinal deformity. TBI has trained hundreds of surgeons, scientists, and allied health professionals now practicing worldwide. Its research institute employs state-of-the-art technology and is actively involved in many clinical trials throughout the year, including artificial disc replacement, minimally invasive technologies, and spinal cord stimulation.Texas Back Institute has remained one of the most academic private practices in spine care and is one of the largest freestanding multidisciplinary spine centers in the world providing comprehensive care for neck and back pain. With a fully dedicated staff of board-certified orthopedic spine surgeons, physiatrists, and physical therapists, the TBI team work together in support of their mission of helping patients get back to life.

The more than 20 physicians at Texas Back Institute are leaders in the surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for back and neck pain, from the most common outpatient procedures to the most complex cases. Thanks to the unmatched expertise of the medical staff, the advanced diagnostic testing and an unparalleled commitment to patient care, the Texas Back Institute physicians can identify potential cause of your back and neck pain and create a treatment plan specific for your needs.

Texas Back Institute has invested their resources in developing several spine specialty programs. These include Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, The Center for Disc Replacement, The Scoliosis and Spine Tumor Center, and Failed Back Surgery. These programs give patients access to highly-trained care teams who have specific focus areas in spine care. These specialty centers within Texas Back Institute are now serving patients in the North Texas area.

“At Texas Back Institute, a minimally invasive approach to spine care is our core belief and foundation for all treatment plans.”

Update from Ethiopia

March 27, 2013

Surgery on that cutey was Sunday. She is doing great. It took a few days to coax another smile, but all is well. I have a lot of great cases to show when I get back.

Ted Belanger

Day 6: March 23rd, 2013

Here is a 13 year old cutie that will be having surgery this week.  She has a 60 degree thoracic scoliosis. For anyone not familiar, that means she is at very high risk for progression and will likely develop an 80, 90 or 100 degree curve over the next 2 to 3 years if left untreated.  Her surgery will be relatively straight forward now, and much more difficult (with possibly the need for more levels of fusion) and higher risk if done in the future.

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Her name is Mareg, which is a common name here.  Wish her (and me) luck.

Ted Belanger

Dr. Ted Belanger, one of Texas Back Institute’s orthopedic spine surgeons, is currently in Ethiopia where his is treating patients suffering from spinal conditions. Dr. Belanger will be sharing stories with us throughout his trip.

Below is his first blog entry!

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Day 1: 3/18/2013

Arrived safe and sound this morning in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Unfortunately, I am struggling with a cold that made my first day here pretty unproductive. I am hoping this will pass quickly. I am touching base with all of our various contacts here and getting some wild cases set up. My first one might be an os odontoideum with spinal cord compression and myelopathy. Yikes.

DAY 2: 3/19/2013

I am feeling a bit better. I accomplished a great deal yesterday. I saw 11 patients with various spine deformities in the clinic and we are finalizing workups to set them up for surgery. We may transfer a patient from another hospital that needs a C1-2 fusion (or so it has been suggested). I saw some old friends and met some new ones. I went to the customs authority to work on getting our supplies released, and I had to go through three large bins of equipment and identify each item and correlate it with the itemized list (think of….this is a tap, this is a screwdriver, this is a compressor, etc.) Luckily, I didn’t have to go to the length of identifying each individual screw by diameter and length. I did my best to stay positive and hide any impatience or American ego as best I could. Despite that major obstacle being overcome, our supplies have still not been released. I am hopeful they will be later today.

Day 4: 3/21/13

Did a big case yesterday.  Pedicle subtraction osteotomy for a chronic fracture that collapsed into kyphosis after being fixed with a short construct by one of the local surgeons.  Made it look pretty.  Have two scoliosis cases to do today, and every day until I come home…

– Ted

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Back Pain can affect us all, young and old, no matter how active you may be. In some cases all it takes is incorrect posture while lifting or normal wear and tear over time to trigger pain in your neck and back. Here are some tips from Dr. Shawn Henry that may help you think about the health and safety of your back.

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1)   Don’t lift and twist at the same time.

2)   Maintain good posture while walking. Keep your head high, chin tucked in and toes straight ahead.

3)   Wear comfortable low-heeled shoes (avoid wearing high-heeled or platform shoes).

4)   Don’t bend forward with straight legs, when lifting an object. Instead, bend at the knees and hold the object close to you. Lift steadily by using the power of your leg muscles.

5)   Maintain a healthy body weight (added weight can put extra stress on your back).

6)   Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time, get up and stretch your muscles frequently.

7)   Sit in an ergonomically designed chair that provides proper back support (and makes it difficult for you to slouch). At the very least, get an orthopedic insert or roll up a towel to help support the low back in mid-position.

8)   Quit Smoking: Smoking is known to contribute to advanced degeneration of the spine.

Dr. Henry is now serving in our Ft. Worth, Dallas, and Midland clinics.

Dr. Scott Blumenthal was the first Orthopedic Spine Surgeon in the US to perform an Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) surgery. This life changing surgery has now helped over 1,400 Texas Back Institute patients. Recently SpineUniverse.com featured the blog post below about the choosing the right spine surgeon for you.

Choosing the Spine Surgeon Who Is Right for You

Patients often wonder how to choose a spine surgeon to perform their total disc replacement.

The easy answer to this question is simple:  carefully.

The longer answer to this question is:  do your research, both on your surgeon and on the procedure.

Tips for Choosing a Spine Surgeon for Disc Replacement
While thousands of surgeons have been trained in disc replacement techniques, very few have adopted it into their clinical practice with any regularity.

Certainly, the bare minimum requirements for choosing a surgeon would be to ensure he/she is a board certified or board eligible orthopedic or neurosurgical spine surgeon.  “Board certified” means that the doctor has gone through a rigorous testing and peer evaluation process by a specialized medical board.

You can ask your doctor if he/she is board certified, or you can research it online.

Some tips to get a better feel for the expertise of the surgeon are:

  • Ask how long he/she has been performing disc replacement surgery and with what frequency they do this procedure.
  • Make sure your surgeon performs many types of surgery and can tailor your treatment to be most appropriate for your condition. Not every patient is best served with a spinal fusion, nor is every patient best served with disc replacement.
  • Make sure you have open communication with your physician.
  • Make sure you trust and have confidence in your surgeon’s abilities.
  • Look at the surgeon’s academic credentials or published papers.  Find out what they have written on disc replacement and if they are leaders in this specialized area of spine care.

A warning to patients:  Don’t depend on fancy advertising or marketing when choosing a surgeon.  Use all your resources when making a decision this critical. The Internet, medical directories and societies, as well as your regular physician can all be great resources in helping you decide which surgeon to go to.

There are also additional resources such as patient chat rooms and blogs where you can read about other patients’ experiences with surgeons.

Choosing a spine surgeon is a very important decision, and the more facts you can get, the better. Luckily, there are many resources to help you find a spine surgeon who is right for you.

Mistakes Men Make Concerning their Back Health

Men taking charge is nothing new in most situations.  At work, at the gym, on the sports field or even when a little spider invades the kitchen.  When it comes to their back health and safety men can be known for being a little lackadaisical.

Dr. Ted Belanger, an orthopedic spine surgeon at Texas Back Institute in Rockwall shares 5 mistakes men can make when it comes to their spine health.

 

1)       They don’t exercise their back.  Guys go to the gym and exercise their “glamour muscles” to get strong and look trim, but they only rarely do any exercises to strengthen their back.  Your back is made of the same tissues as your arms and legs, and responds to exercise in much the same way.  The old adage that it’s dangerous to exercise or use your back for strenuous activity is a myth.  You can strengthen it just the same as you strengthen your biceps—with repetitive range of motion against resistance until you reach muscle fatigue.

2)       They don’t do enough research.  Very often evaluation of back problems is sought without any careful research to determine who might be the best person to see.  There are big differences in the training, background, certification and experience of the various practitioners available to assess a patient with a complaint about their back or spine.  The list includes chiropractors, primary care physicians, physiatrists, pain management doctors, orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and orthopaedic spine surgeons.  Among these, no specialist has more training and experience assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions than an orthopaedic surgeon.  Most of the others on the list either have very little musculoskeletal training (neurosurgeon) or have no experience at all in the surgical treatment of spine conditions (all the rest).  An orthopaedic spine surgeon is in the best position to diagnose and treat a patient with a back/spine problem, whether or not they need surgery.

3)       They don’t ask enough questions.  Patients often present for a second opinion to our clinic.  A common element of their frustration and sometimes confusion is a lack of understanding of their problem.  This can be avoided by insisting your questions be answered the first time around.  Bringing a list of standard questions is a great way to make sure you are communicating well with your doctor.  Good questions are:  What is my diagnosis?  What will happen if I don’t do anything about it?  What are my options to treat it and what can I expect from the treatment?  How does the treatment work, exactly?

4)       They don’t recognize the difference between amateur and expert advice.  People often put as much weight on their neighbor or friend’s back advice as they do their doctor. While good-intentioned, the patient should at least recognize that their doctor, particularly if they are an orthopaedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon, has much more insight and understanding about the diagnosis and treatment options.  A common comment made by patients and their friends and family is “back surgery doesn’t work”.  But that’s a drastic generalization that simply isn’t true.  There are many different kinds of back surgery (discectomy, fusion, disc replacement, decompression, etc.) and many different reasons to undergo back surgery (degenerative conditions, fractures, trauma, scoliosis, deformity, tumor, infection).  Whether or not surgery is successful depends largely on the diagnosis you are treating, the details of the workup, the execution of the surgery, the choice of surgical technique, and the alignment of the expectations of the patient with what the surgery can accomplish.  Orthopaedic Spine Surgeons know this better than anyone else.

5)       They too often think their back problem is hopeless and they just need to “live with it”.  Patients are often afraid to seek advice about surgery because they are afraid.  They should think of the office visit the way the doctor does: a consultation to answer questions and provide information.  The decision about what treatment to participate in always rests with the patient.  If you are still not sure after visiting with a doctor, feel free to do more research, ask more questions, and seek more advice from experts.  Sometimes second or even third opinions are necessary to come to a decision about how to proceed.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to one of these mistakes, it’s not too late.  Give us a call today and we will talk to you about your situation and help you figure out what the best treatments are for you!

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