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An innovative new trend in spine surgery offers minimally invasive approach for treating chronic back and leg pain

For release on January 04, 2012

Indianapolis, IN---A new, minimally invasive procedure is now available for patients suffering from chronic back and leg pain. The revolutionary new procedure, mild®, which stands for minimally invasive lumbar decompression, is offered at Community Hospital East. Chronic back pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) affects more than one million people in the United States. Typical treatment includes physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, even invasive, open back surgery.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a degenerative, age-related narrowing of the lower spinal canal that causes pressure on the nerves. The most common symptoms of LSS include pain and numbness or weakness in the legs that worsens with standing or walking. It is one of the most common causes of chronic back and leg pain.

“Patients suffering from LSS notice an adverse impact on their quality of life,” said John Swofford, D.O., a board certified pain management specialist with Community Hospital East. “While many patients respond well initially to more traditional, conservative approaches to alleviating the pain, over time, the degenerative nature of the issue worsens and often requires open back surgery.” Swofford is the first surgeon in Indianapolis certified and specially trained to perform this procedure. He went on to say, “What’s so exciting about the mild® procedure is that it offers patients a minimally invasive alternative to treat their back and leg pain. There are no implants, sutures or staples involved.”

The procedure is done using only a local anesthetic with only a small incision, reducing the risk of complications. In addition, patients are able to recover quickly and typically return home the same day. Often, patients can resume work and light daily tasks within a few days, according to Swofford.

Ideal candidates for the mild® procedure include patients who no longer respond to physical therapy, pain medications and/or steroid injections to relieve their chronic pain.

Developed to remove the source of LSS symptoms, mild® is a groundbreaking new procedure that safely and therapeutically reduces pain and improves mobility. It safely and effectively addresses the underlying cause of pain and immobility in patients with LSS. Compared to more invasive surgical procedures that require general anesthesia, mild® can be performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia or light sedation, and patients experience fewer complications.

About Community Health Network
Ranked among the nation’s most integrated healthcare systems, Community Health Network is Central Indiana’s leader in access to innovative and compassionate healthcare services, where and when patients need them—in hospitals, in convenient health pavilions and doctor’s offices, in the workplace, at schools, in the home and online. As a non-profit health system with multiple sites of care and affiliates throughout Indiana, Community’s full continuum of care integrates hundreds of physicians, acute care and specialty hospitals, surgery centers, physician offices, home care services, walk-in care centers and employer health services. To put the needs and the convenience of patients first, Community pioneers advanced treatments and world-class health information technologies, with a focus on ease of access to exceptional care.


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Lacey Clifford
Media Relations