Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In The Bay Area

treatment for spinal stenosisSan Francisco Bay Area spine surgeon Robert Rovner, MD says a new minimally invasive procedure is effective for many patients suffering from back pain and associated leg pain while preserving range of motion.

Dr. Robert Rovner’s patient Kim rides her bike after minimally invasive spine surgery.

“In many cases the pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis may now be treated using an alternative to spinal fusion,” says Dr. Rovner. The procedure uses a titanium clip called “Coflex” to stabilize the spine after a laminectomy is performed to relieve pressure on the nerves. “This less invasive alternative preserves range of motion with the added benefit of a rapid recovery.”

Dr. Rovner’s patient Kim is in her early 50’s and is extremely active. She participates in marathon bike rides and loves hiking through rugged mountain ranges. But a few years ago Kim began to suffer from intense back pain that became so intense that she was sidelined from enjoying her favorite physical activities.

Kim was experiencing nerve pain that radiated from her lower back down to her legs. “The only time I wasn’t in pain was when I was sitting,” she says. Dr. Rovner diagnosed Kim with lumbar spinal stenosis which was causing vertebrae in her lower back to become unstable, creating pressure on the surrounding nerves.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is usually treated with a procedure called a “laminectomy” which removes a section of bone from the vertebrae to decompress the nerves. A laminectomy is usually followed with spinal fusion to stabilize the spine. Instead, Dr. Rovner recommended a less invasive procedure using the “Coflex” device. “The Coflex was implanted after a laminectomy procedure to hold Kim’s vertebrae in position while allowing them to flex, preserving range of motion rather than fusing the vertebrae together,” says Dr. Rovner.

“The first patient I treated with the Coflex procedure was back to playing tennis and golf two weeks after his surgery,” says Dr. Rovner. “The rapid recovery and return to function with Coflex is something that I’m not used to seeing with patients in whom I’ve done either a simple laminectomy alone or laminectomy combined with fusion.”

Kim plans to return to some long-delayed adventures. ”I’m going to be doing some backpacking and I’m planning to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with my son,” she says.

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

For more information on non-surgical therapies and surgical treatment for back or neck pain and injuries call the office of Robert Rovner, MD at Disc & Spine in Danville, CA at 925.275.0700 Visit

New Scoliosis Treatment Developed By California Spine Surgeon

Scoliosis post op xrayScoliosis is an abnormal, often progressive curvature of the spine that also causes the spine to rotate. Danville, CA spine surgeon Robert Rovner, MD has developed a new technique and surgical hardware to more fully correct the spine’s rotation for the first time. This rotation can create a telltale “rib hump” which is not fully corrected by conventional surgical procedures. “I believe this procedure can provide the best outcomes compared to the currently available treatments for scoliosis,” says Dr. Rovner.

“Scoliosis is most often diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence, although there are many adults living with scoliosis which can continue to worsen,” says Dr. Rovner. “Scoliosis can cause a rotational deformity characterized by a protruding “rib hump” which occurs when the ribs on the high side are rotated up. This can result in a ‘hunchback’ – like appearance.”

Dr. Rovner’s procedure employs a device that allows the surgeon to make the spine as straight as possible by enabling adjustments from both sides of the spine, instead of from just one side. “Conventional surgeries focus on correcting the curvature deformity but will only slightly correct the rotation of the spine,” he says.

Shelly, 31, recently underwent the new procedure performed by Dr. Rovner. At age 10 she was diagnosed with scoliosis. At he time Shelley had a  39 degree spinal curvature, but her parents decided not to approve the recommended surgery that was available at the time, which was extremely daunting. “I would have had to be in a full body cast for many months,” she says. Shelly decided to have the procedure done earlier this year, after she had her first child.  Dr. Rovner says at the time of Shelly’s surgery the curvature of her spine had increased to 54 degrees. “The spine’s normal curvature should be zero,” says Dr. Rovner. “Shelly’s curvature and rotation have been returned to normal levels and she is now doing very well.”

Robert Rovner, MD is a board certified spine surgeon at Disc & Spine in Danville, CA.