Bay Area Spine Surgeon Treats Spinal Stenosis With Titanium Clip

treatment for spinal stenosisThe Coflex Device Offers An Alternative To Spinal Fusion After Decompression, May Offer Best Treatment To Preserve Range Of Movement For The Right Patients, says Robert Rovner, MD.

Danville, CA – Kim is a 50-something who loves to be active. She participates in marathon bike rides and loves to hike in the mountains.That was until the onset of intense low back pain threatened to keep Kim from her favorite activities.“Pain was radiating from my lower back and down my legs,“ she says. “Sitting down was the only way I could make the pain stop.”

Dr. Rovner’s patient Kim rides her bike again after treatment for spinal stenosis.

Spine surgeon Dr. Robert Rovner diagnosed Kim with lumbar spinal stenosis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back caused by bone and / or tissue growth in the openings in the spinal bones. This narrowing can compress and irritate the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. Symptoms can include pain, numbness, or weakness. Vertebrae in Kim’s lower back had become unstable, putting painful pressure on surrounding nerves. Serious cases can require spinal fusion after a decompression procedure but Dr. Rovner recommended a less invasive procedure using “Coflex” a titanium clip-like device.

“Lower back and leg pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis may now be treated in many cases without resorting to spinal fusion,” says Dr. Rovner, of Disc & Spine in Danville, CA. “This less invasive procedure preserves range of motion and allows for a more rapid recovery.”

Dr. Rovner says that spinal stenosis is usually treated with a procedure called a “laminectomy” to decompress the nerves, combined with fusion to stabilize the spine. With the Coflex procedure, the clip is placed between two vertebrae immediately after a laminectomy is completed. The spring-like device allows the back to flex while providing support.

“A recently published five-year randomized prospective outcome study of laminectomy and Coflex patients shows outcomes equal to or better than patients who were treated with a combination of laminectomy and fusion. Additionally, there were fewer revision surgeries necessary in the Coflex group during the five years of the study.” (International Journal of Spine Surgery, Michael Musacchio, MD – source:

“Before Coflex became available I was not used to seeing such rapid recovery and return to function with patients in whom I’ve done either a simple laminectomy alone or laminectomy combined with fusion,” says Dr. Rovner.

Dr. Rovner says that patients with more advanced stenosis may not be candidates for the Coflex implant and may require more extensive surgery or spinal fusion. “It’s important to consult with a board certified spine surgeon who offers several alternatives for treatment depending on each patient’s condition,” he says.

For more information or to book an appointment call Disc & Spine at 925-275-0700.

Scoliosis Treatment In The Bay Area Improved With New Procedure

Bay Area spine surgeon Dr. Robert Rovner has developed a new technique to correct the abnormal rotation of the spine as well as the curvature caused by scoliosis. Most conventional surgeries address the curvature but will only slightly correct the rotation of the spine, often leaving patients with an unsightly telltale bump caused by a protruding rib.

Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence. Scoliosis also causes a rotational deformity, which occurs when the ribs on the high side are rotated up as a result of the spinal rotation. With traditional procedures the end result can be disappointing for patients who are expecting to have the deformity corrected as well as the curve. Dr. Rovner wanted to find a way to improve these outcomes for his patients and he ultimately developed a new surgical technique and  hardware to correct not only the abnormal curvature of the spine but also the rotational deformity, which is not fully addressed by conventional surgery. Dr. Rovner shows how the new treatment for scoliosis helped one of his patients in this story from ABC 7 News San Francisco:

Scoliosis can develop in infancy or early childhood. However, the primary age of onset for scoliosis is 10-15 years old, occurring equally among both genders. Although boys and girls are affected in equal numbers girls are eight times more likely than boys to progress to the point of needing surgery. Every year, scoliosis patients make more than 600,000 visits to private physician offices and an estimated 30,000 children are fitted with a brace, and 38,000 patients undergo spinal fusion surgery. Source: National Scoliosis Foundation

Dr. Rovner developed a device and technique that allows the surgeon to make the spine as straight as possible by enabling adjustments from both sides of the spine. “In the future, I think surgeons will start using this technique or something similar because of the proven benefits for their patients,” he says.

Robert Rovner, MD is a board certified spine surgeon at Disc & Spine in Danville, CA. For more information on treatment for scoliosis or other conditions of the spine call 925-275-0700 and visit