Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery could Reduce Risks for Orthopedic Patients
SAN JUAN – The Caribbean Spine and Research Institute (CSRI), the first private institution specializing in spine surgery in Puerto Rico, inaugurated its new facilities in San Juan to offer its services in alliance with the Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital in Condado.
“At the institute, we will attend to all conditions affecting the spine, from the cervical to the lumbar areas, as well as degenerative conditions, arthritis and scoliosis,” said Dr. Fernando Villamil, founder of the CSRI.
Villamil, one of fewer than 10 orthopedists in Puerto Rico specializing in spine surgery, explained that the CSRI will offer everything from basic conservative treatment for spinal conditions to the more complex treatments, including surgery.
“We are the only institution in Puerto Rico specializing in minimally invasive surgery techniques, which only require an incision less than an inch long,” the surgeon said.
Even though tissue disruption in this type of surgery is minimal, even for significantly serious conditions, the surgeon explained the procedure is still considered major surgery. The difference between these techniques and traditional ones, besides the incision, is the amount of blood loss and the time needed for recovery. Villamil said that, depending on the condition and the nature of the procedure, a patient could be discharged from the hospital in one or two days after the operation.
According to Villamil, 90 percent of the world’s population suffers or will suffer from some form of back pain and or spinal condition such as degenerative conditions, cervical and/or lumbar arthritis. The same statistics can be extrapolated to Puerto Rico.
“At ‘El Presby’ [the Presbyterian Hospital], between 400 and 500 spinal surgeries are done every year,” Villamil said.
Along with providing specialized treatment, the CSRI will act as a research center for various conditions affecting the spine, as well as a training facility for surgeons from the mainland U.S. and different countries in Latin America interested in learning new orthopedic treatments and techniques.
Villamil is also confident that the CSRI will improve the island’s offering in the medical tourism segment, specifically in the field of orthopedics.