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To improve access to highly specialized care and to further its commitment to patients suffering from spine-related disorders, Alvarado Hospital has opened the Advanced Spine Institute & Minimally Invasive Spine Center, a multi-specialty "one-stop” center dedicated to providing world-class care to patients with back, neck and complex spinal problems.

Many of the institute's surgeons are experts in minimally invasive spine surgery. Both traditional and minimally invasive procedures are offered to patients based on the type of surgery required.

As part of the Advanced Spine Institute launch, the hospital invested in state-of-the-art exercise equipment and unique approaches to rehabilitation are the hallmarks of this new outpatient facility located on the Alvarado Hospital campus.

In addition to a team of fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, the hospital has assembled a group of spine specialists, including neurosurgeons, neurologists, pain management and rehabilitation specialists, psychologists, sleep specialists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.

"Back pain and spinal-related disorders are a modern-day epidemic,” said Dr. Choll Kim, who has joined the center from UCSD Medical Center, where he is an associate clinical professor of surgery and conducted basic science and clinical research for the last several years.

"Four out of five adults will experience back pain during their life," Dr. Kim continued. "Today, we can offer those who suffer from back pain solutions that are far less traumatic, all in one single location."

Dr. Kim is considered a pioneer in minimally invasive spine surgery and is the executive director of the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.

Typical spine conditions the team treats include herniated discs or "pinched nerves,” degenerative disc disease, failed back syndrome, sciatica, spinal stenosis, cervical pain, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis.

"The combination of advanced technology and less-invasive treatments allows us to give patients with spinal injuries significant relief from their pain,” said Dr. Kam Raiszadeh, medical director of the Advanced Spine Institute.

To provide additional convenience to patients, all diagnostic and medical/surgical treatments will be performed at Alvarado Hospital, which has dedicated a state-of-the art unit for the program. Patients will have access to advanced MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and other diagnostic technology, a dedicated surgical and treatment unit with specialized equipment, and a specialty trained ortho/neuro-care nursing staff.

"Specialized healthcare facilities such as the Advanced Spine Institute are filling a burgeoning need in modern medical care,” Dr. Raiszadeh said. "Years ago, diagnosing and treating spinal and neck problems was more experimental and surgery-oriented. Now new technology and less-invasive treatments are employed to give patients relief from their pain.

"We have assembled a dream team of spine surgeons to participate in this program. Our patients will benefit from the surgeons’ extensive experience of providing spine care to athletes."

Dr. Kim added that the Spine Institute in conjunction with the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS) will also be participating in clinical studies to determine the effectiveness of new treatments for spinal care, an area he said that furthers the hospital's commitment to research.