13th Patent Received

Friday, September 28, 2012 by Rick Sasso, MD

In collaboration with seven other colleagues, I recently received my thirteenth patent for reducing instrument for spinal surgery. It is the second patent received involving a device to correct Scoliosis deformities. The patent number  US7799031/US8246625.  The instrument is provided for reduction of a rod or other elongated member into an implant, such as a bone screw. In one embodiment, such an instrument includes a rod adjusting assembly pivotably attached to an implant holding assembly. The implant holding assembly can be pivotably connected to an implant, and the rod adjusting assembly is operable to move a rod toward or away from the implant holding assembly. In that embodiment, several motions are possible by the instrument so that relatively small or large movements of a rod with respect to an implant may be made. The information can be viewed by clicking the following link.

http://www.google.com/patents?id=-kXWAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

IMAST conference

Friday, December 23, 2011 by Rick Sasso, MD

Late this summer, I was a faculty member at a physician education meeting sponsored by the Scoliosis Research Society. This meeting was the 18th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST), held in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

This IMAST meeting includes spine surgeons who are leaders in the field of research and advance spine technologies, for all areas of the all areas of spine (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar), most spinal conditions (degenerative, trauma, deformity, tumor), and a variety of treatment techniques. It is an honor to be asked to participate.

         The continuing medical education objectives of this meeting were to:

·         Assess the most recent advances in surgical techniques for the treatment of spinal disorders and when to use them, in the interest of providing optimal patient care.

·         Analyze the indications and potential complications for various spine fixation systems including spinal arthroplasty.

·         Recognize emerging technology that has the potential to improve patient outcomes for specific indications and populations.

More About Scoliosis

Friday, June 24, 2011 by Rick Sasso, MD

I recently blogged about a new genetic test that predicts the likelihood of curve progression of patients diagnosed with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) – the ScoliScore AIS Prognostic Test. 

Previously I did a series of blogs, defining scoliosis, reviewing scoliosis screening recommendations and treatment options (addressing bracing, and spine surgery).

 

Here are the links to those prior blogs:

            Scoliosis defined and general information 
Scoliosis screening guidelines 
Scoliosis treatment options 

Information About ScoliScore

Monday, June 20, 2011 by Rick Sasso, MD

Recently I was interviewed by Anne Marie Tiernon, health reporter from WTHR, about a new genetic test – ScoliScore AIS Prognostic Test. This new test predicts curve prScoliScore Test Kit ogression in patients diagnosed with mild adolescent scoliosis (AIS) with 99% accuracy.

 

This test measures patient’s saliva for specific DNA markers. Research has identified two genetic markers in patients with scoliosis. One DNA marker may predispose a patient to developing severe scoliosis (28 markers – progressive genes), and the other (25 markers – protective genes) may protect the patient from severe spinal curve progression. The ScoliScore analyzes these genetic markers and provides a score. The lower the score – the less risk of the patient’s curve progressing.

 

This test is indicated for Caucasian males or females who have been diagnosed with mild scoliosis, that are between the ages of 9 – 13. For a fact sheet on this test, visit this link. To see the WTHR news / spinal wellness story, visit this link.

 

This new test is available at Indiana Spine Group. For information, please call our office at (317) 228-7000.


Scoliosis Story

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 by Indiana Spine Group
On May 24, WTHR aired a story about ScoliScore. Health reporter Anne
Marie Tiernon Rick Sasso, MDinterviewed spine surgeon Rick Sasso, MD about a
new DNA test that is now available.
 
This genetic test called ScoliScore AIS Prognostic Test is used to predict curve progression in patients diagnosed with mild adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. ScoliScore utilizes a simple saliva test, collected from the patient to measure DNA markers.

Research has determined that scoliosis patients have two DNA markers - one the protects them from developing severe scoliosis and one that predisposes them to developing severe scoliosis. The lower the score, the lower the risk for curve progression. This test has been 99% predictive for children who are in the low-risk group.

To watch this interview, visit this link. For a ScoliScore fact sheet, visit this link.

Scoliosis Research Society - IMAST Meeting

Monday, August 30, 2010 by Rick Sasso, MD

In a prior blog entry, I highlighted a few of the talks I participated in at the annual Scoliosis Research Society meeting. The acronym for this annual continuing medical education meeting is IMAST, and stands for International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques.

 

This international meeting brings experts on spine surgery from all over the world to discuss the latest surgical techniques, devices as well as it provides a forum to provide the latest on research in progress.

The overall educational objectives of this meeting are listed below.

 

At the completion of this program, participants should be able to:

1. Assess the most recent advances in surgical techniques for the treatment of spinal disorders and when to use them, in the interest of providing optimal patient care.

2. Analyze the indications and potential complications for various spine fixation systems including spinal arthroplasty.

3. Recognize emerging technology that has the potential to improve patient outcomes for specific indications and populations.

4. Understand when it may be appropriate to use biologic options to enhance spinal fusion.

Spine Conference

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 by Rick Sasso, MD

 

At a recent annual continuing medical education meeting sponsored by The Scoliosis Research Society, I was an invited instructor. This conference was the 17th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques and was held in Toronto. This educational meeting is considered one of the premier international spine meetings held annually for spine surgeons, and it is an honor to be asked to be one of the limited faculty members.

 

At this meeting, I presented the results of a spine research study for an investigational device that I am participating in. This study is related to the cervical spine and deals with cervical motion technology. A few other continuing medical education activities that I participated in included:

·         Gave a presentation on occipitocervical fixation and biomechanics.

·         Moderated a round table discussion on cervical reconstruction.

·         Participated in a fundamentals session on the cervical spine and discussed posterior cervical decompression and fusion.

Spine Specialty Day at the AAOS Meeting

Monday, March 22, 2010 by Rick Sasso, MD

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) held their annual continuing medical education meeting in New Orleans, in early March.  In addition to attending the annual continuing medical education meeting, I also had the honor of coordinating and hosting the spine specialty day. The spine specialty day presented a common forum by the Federation Societies, of which I am the president.  The Federation Societies is comprised of four spine-focused organizations, and includes the Cervical Spine Research Society, North American Spine Society, Scoliosis Research Society and the American Spinal Injury Association.  

 

A few of the educational objectives for the day included discussing the current concepts in the diagnosis and management of spinal disorders, and to review and update the clinical results and complications of the new technologies and concepts.  The information was presented in the form of instructional presentations, discussions, papers and debates. 

 

Highlighted topics were presented by each society within the Federation.  During the day in the North American Spine Societies section, I presented a talk on cervical disc replacement, and for the American Spinal Injury Association I discussed spinal cord injury and the appropriate time for decompression. 

 

For a detailed agenda of this spine specialty day, visit this link at the AAOS web site. 

Scoliosis Resources

Thursday, December 31, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD

In my last few blog entries, I discussed scoliosis. In this blog entry, I am including a few scoliosis resources for more in-depth information about scoliosis.  

 

Scoliosis Research Society

National Scoliosis Foundation

iScoliosis
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
 

Scoliosis Surgical Procedure – Video-Assisted Thoracoplasty (VAT)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD

Often time’s patients that have idiopathic scoliosis may also have a visible rib deformity that may be present following corrective spine surgery.  The traditional spine surgical procedure to correct this has been open thoracoplasty.  A newer, minimally invasive procedure used is video- assisted thoracoplasty.  This procedure is less invasive than the traditional spine surgical procedure.

 

This abstract that I co-authored summarizes this procedure and the clinical results

Scoliosis Research Study

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 by Indiana Spine Group

Currently there is a scoliosis treatment study underway, entitled Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Trial.(BrAIST).  The purpose of this spine study is to compare the effectiveness of bracing as a treatment to prevent further curve progression for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.  Bracing is the current standard of care.  This study will compare the risk of curve progression in adolescents diagnosed with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis that wear a brace versus those that do not.  This study will determine if there are factors that can predict the usefulness of bracing.  Additionally, this study will evaluate the best dosing and bracing duration schedule, and how bracing affects the quality of life; including functioning and psychosocial issues. 

 

This study will evaluate 500 adolescents aged 10 – 15 years of age, and conclude on August 2010. A sponsor of this study is the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.   For more information, visit the study site. 

Overview | Scoliosis Treatments

Friday, December 11, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD

Many times with scoliosis - no treatment is needed.  Once a patient is diagnosed with scoliosis it is important to observe and monitor the curve during the patient’s growing years.  Factors that affect what type of treatment is recommended include the age of the patient and how much growth they have left, the degree and pattern of the curve, and the type of scoliosis. 

 

Treatment options may range from observation to surgery.  If it is decided that the patient will be observed; they will be evaluated approximately every six months while the patient is still growing.  At this time, the degree of the curve will be assessed.

 

Bracing is a treatment option to prevent the curve from progressing.  This is recommended if the patient has an idiopathic curve, is still growing and:

  • Has a curve greater than 25 degrees,
  • Has two more years of potential growth remaining and the curve is between 20 and 29 degrees, (and if female has not had her first menstrual period) or
  • Has a curve that is between 20 and 29 degrees and is progressing.   
When patients have a curve that is greater than 45 degrees, they are still growing and the curve is getting worse they may be a candidate for spine surgery.  In this case, a spinal fusion may be performed to straighten and stabilize the spine.

Scoliosis and Screenings

Sunday, December 6, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD

This blog entry is part of a series on scoliosis, and will address commonly asked questions about screenings.

 

At what age should I have my children screened for scoliosis and how frequently should this be done?

In that scoliosis is typically diagnosed between the ages of 10 and 16, I generally recommend that parents have their children screened for scoliosis as a part of their annual physical.  Depending on the school system, the school nurse may do scoliosis screenings as part of their wellness / health initiatives. 

 

Are there any visible symptoms of scoliosis that I can look for in my child? 

There are a few visible symptoms that as a parent you may notice in your child.  Some of these visible signs may be uneven shoulders, or a protrusion of one or both of the shoulder blades, an elevated hip, or uneven waist.  Sometimes, you may notice clothes do not fit properly – that pant legs may appear longer on one side than the other.  If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, it is recommended to talk to your family doctor.    

 

What is the screening test called that is commonly performed – when you are bending forward?

This is one of the most common initial screening tests for scoliosis and is called the Adam’s Forward Bending Test.  For this test, the individual puts his or her feet together,  leans forward and bends at the waist 90 degrees.  Often times, they are asked to put their hands together like they are diving.  The screener will then look at the spine for any abnormal curvatures and asymmetry of the trunk.  This screening can tell if there is a curve – but not the degree of the curve.

 

How do you determine the degree of spinal curvature?

If an initial screening such as the Adam’s Forward Bending Test indicated that they was a curvature – further testing then measures the degree of the spinal curvature.  To determine this – an X-ray of the spine is taken.  A process called the Cobb Method is then used to measure the amount of spinal curvature. 

 

With the Cobb method of measuring spinal curvature, lines are drawn on the X-ray parallel to the end plates of the vertebral bodies at the beginning and end of the curve.  A perpendicular line is then drawn – and the angle between these two lines equals the degree of curvature – called the Cobb measurement.  It is important to note, that the actual measurement can vary 3 to 5 degrees, depending upon the exact positioning of the patient for the X-ray.  That is why major treatment decisions are not made on one single X-ray.


Scoliosis Defined

Friday, December 4, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD

In these next series of blog entries – I will answer common questions about scoliosis – including the diagnosis, and provide an overview of the treatment options both medical and surgical treatments.

 

The Scoliosis Research Society defines scoliosis as a lateral deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine, which is greater than ten degrees when measured by an X-ray.  Scoliosis is often referred to as “curvature of the spine.”

 

According to the National Scoliosis Foundation (NSF), scoliosis affects 2-3% of the population.  The common age for onset is 10-15 years, old and it affects both genders equally although females are eight times more likely to have a greater degree of curvature that requires treatment the NSF indicates.  Although scoliosis is not heredity, there is an increased likelihood of an individual being diagnosed with scoliosis if a family member has had it. 

 

The different types of scoliosis include:

 

§         Idiopathic Scoliosis – This is where scoliosis occurs without a known cause.  This is the most common type of scoliosis.

§         Congenital Scoliosis – This is when an individual is born with scoliosis as a result of the vertebrae not being properly formed during pregnancy.  This malformation occurs within the first six weeks of embryonic formation.

§          Neuromuscular Scoliosis – This is caused as a result of a neurological disorder such as muscular dystrophy that results in a weak trunk and the individual can not support the weight of their body.

§         Adult Scoliosis – This is when scoliosis is diagnosed in an individual as an adult.  It can either be undiagnosed scoliosis when the individual was younger or the result of age-related degeneration.  An example of age-related scoliosis is osteoporosis. 

 

If you have a question on scoliosis that you would like answered in this series of blog entries, please send your question to info@indianaspinegroup.com. 


Scoliosis Resource

Monday, August 24, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD

The Scoliosis Research Society is an excellent resource for individuals searching for information on spine wellness and education information on scoliosis. This web site provides detailed explanations of the types of scoliosis – as well as addresses the different life stages that one may have scoliosis; i.e. infants, juveniles, adolescents and adults. 

 

Founded in 1966, the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) is an international society with membership that includes spine surgeons, researchers and health care practitioners that are involved in the treatment of spinal deformities. The SRS is dedicated to research and education in the field of spinal deformities. To learn more about this organization, visit their website

Spine Conference

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 by Rick Sasso, MD



I recently went to Austria to attend the 16th International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST). For this spine continuing medical education conference, I was a faculty member and invited faculty speaker. This spine conference, sponsored by the Scoliosis Research Society, is an international forum where spine surgeons from around the world discussed the latest research and advanced spine technologies. The goal of this conference is to improve the quality of patient care.

 

While at this conference I participated in a few instructional lectures. I moderated a spine surgery education series on Options in Cervical Fixture and Motion and presented a talk on Current State of Cervical Motion Technology.  Additionally, I participated in a instructional lectures series on Cervical Trauma and presented a talk on C1 – 2 fractures. 

 

In addition to the instructional lectures, I participated in a round table discussion on Cervical Reconstruction. This discussion provided an opportunity for spine surgeons from around the world to discuss case studies presented. 


Spinal Disorders | Common

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 by Indiana Spine Group

Other topics that will be discussed during Back Talk, the continuing medical education conference sponsored by Indiana Spine Group, are common spinal disorders. 

Dr. Paul Kraemer, a spine surgeon with Indiana Spine Group, will highlight common spinal diagnoses that affect the pediatric, adolescent and adult population. Recommended screening tests will be reviewed, and Dr. Kraemer will discuss how to differentiate between patient complaints and symptoms for effective spinal diagnosis. A few common diagnoses that will be reviewed include spinal stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis and scoliosis.

Back Talk | Spine Symposium Objectives

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 by Indiana Spine Group

Planning continues for the annual spine symposium / continuing medical education conference Back Talk. The overall objective of this conference is to provide primary care physicians and practitioners comprehensive information for the diagnosis and treatment of their patients with spinal disorders, injuries and abnormalities. 

 

At the conclusion of this program, participants will:

 

·        Provide a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of patients that present with back and neck pain; including the physical exam, imaging and psychological assessment.

                       

·        Review current evidence-based treatments of spinal disorders from a non-operative to an operative perspective; including medical and physical therapy, chiropractic care and when referrals are indicated. 

 

·        Identify the diagnostic and treatment algorithms of spinal conditions specific to life stages – from the pediatric patient to the older adult; i.e. pediatric injuries, scoliosis, osteoporosis, and the degenerative spine.

 

·        Discuss spinal injuries resulting from sports activities and trauma, their non-operative and operative treatments as well as preventative measures. 

 

·        Identify uncommon and difficult causes of spine disorders; including rheumatologic disorders and cancer.

 

·        Understand the key principles of spine wellness to maintain a healthy spine; i.e. nutrition, lifestyle and exercise.

 

·        Discuss emerging technologies and the future of spine care. 

For more information, visit the Back Talk information page on Indiana Spine Group's web site.

Spine Symposium | Conference Objectives

Friday, January 9, 2009 by Indiana Spine Group

Planning on the third annual spine symposium / continuing medical education program continues.  This conference entitled, Back Talk:  Comprehensive Concepts in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Spinal Disorders - will address one of the key reasons people visit their physicians, back pain! 

This symposium will discuss the latest spinal diagnostic and treatment information for back and neck problems.  Overall conference objectives include:  

·        Provide a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of patients that present with back and neck pain; including the physical exam, imaging and psychological assessment.

                       

·        Review current evidence-based treatments of spinal disorders from a non-operative to an operative perspective; including medical and physical therapy, chiropractic care and when referrals are indicated. 

 

·        Identify the diagnostic and treatment algorithms of spinal conditions specific to life stages – from the pediatric patient to the older adult; i.e. pediatric injuries, scoliosis, osteoporosis, and the degenerative spine.

 

·        Discuss spinal injuries resulting from sports activities and trauma, their non-operative and operative treatments as well as preventative measures. 

 

·        Identify uncommon and difficult causes of spine disorders; including rheumatologic disorders and cancer.

 

·        Understand the key principles of spine wellness to maintain a healthy spine; i.e. nutrition, lifestyle and exercise.

 

·        Discuss emerging technologies and the future of spine care. 

 

For more conference infomration, visit Indiana Spine Group's web site, or call (317) 228-7000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scoliosis Screening

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 by Indiana Spine Group

At some point, in your children’s school years – they will be screened for scoliosis by the school nurse.  They are also screened for scoliosis at their annual physical.

This screening is for idiopathic scoliosis – which is an abnormal curvature of the spine, with an unknown cause.  Idiopathic scoliosis often develops during childhood and adolescence.  A normal spine appears like a straight “I”.  With scoliosis, there is a curve to the left or right and the spine looks will have either a S-shaped or C-shaped curve. 

The standard screening for scoliosis, conducted by pediatricians and in school screenings, is the Adam’s Forward Bend Test.  According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, this is the most specific test for true scoliosis.  With this screening, the individual holds his or her feet together, and bends 90 degrees at the waist.  The trained professional looks for any sign of curvature or any asymmetry of the trunk.  If curvature is detected, the individual will be referred for additional evaluation.

Early detection is important in the treatment of scoliosis.  Many times with early treatment, the progression of scoliosis can be stopped or slowed down.