Desert Pain Specialists provides new treatment option for spinal stenosis

Overlaid image depicting symptoms of spinal stenosis. L-R: Dr. Spencer Wells and Dr. Court Empey of Desert Pain Specialists smile in this promotional photo with an overlaid image of the Vertiflex logo, location and date not specified | Doctors photos courtesy of Desert Pain Specialists, logo courtesy of Vertiflex, St. George News

FEATURE – Drs. Court Empey and Spencer Wells of Desert Pain Specialists are pleased to announce they are now providers of Vertiflex’s Superion Indirect Decompression System, a new treatment procedure designed for patients who suffer from moderate lumbar spinal stenosis.

Both Empey and Wells have been trained in the new system and are accepting patients who qualify.

Vertiflex’s Superion Indirect Decompression System implant, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Vertiflex, St. George News

After rigorous clinical trials, the Superion Indirect Decompression System was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment option for patients diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. The system has also been approved by Medicare for those who qualify for coverage.

Often the result of wear and tear on the spine caused by everyday activities, lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. This fairly common condition is marked by symptoms that can include a dull aching pain in the leg, groin and/or buttocks, numbness or tingling in the leg or buttocks, muscle weakness and sciatic pain.

Patients who suspect they might have lumbar spinal stenosis should consult with a doctor to rule out conditions with similar symptoms. X-rays or MRIs may be needed to properly diagnose the condition.

Spinal stenosis can be detrimental to a patient’s ability to walk or even stand, Empey said, adding that it prevents them from being able to do the things they want and need to do.

Before the system was approved, patients’ options were limited and swung widely between conservative epidural steroid injections and invasive back surgery, Empey said.

What is so exciting to both Empey and Wells about the Superion Indirect Decompression System is that it is a treatment option that bridges the gap between conservative care and surgical care.

The new Superion system is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed at a surgical center. The doctors implant a small titanium device to the affected area through a tube approximately the size of a dime. The Superion implant is designed to relieve pressure on the patient’s affected nerves while retaining the patient’s mobility.

The Superion implant has been clinically proven to be durable for 48 months, Vertiflex states on its website, providing patients with a reduction in leg pain by 79 percent at 48 months.

For patients who have been treated for lumbar spinal stenosis with epidural steroid injections for six months without relief from their pain but don’t want or are not healthy enough to withstand direct decompression or back fusion surgery, Empey said the Superion Indirect Decompression System could be a great treatment option.

For Empey, helping patients effectively manage their pain is what is so exciting about both his job and the Superion system.

“When I’m able to help patients who aren’t able to function and I’m able to control their pain by a procedure like this, it is so gratifying for me,” Empey said. “It makes my job worth it.”

For more information about the Superion Indirect Decompression System, visit Vertiflex’s website.

About Desert Pain Specialists

Desert Pain Specialists is Southern Utah’s premier interventional pain management team. Both Empey and Wells are fellowship trained interventional pain medicine specialists and Southern Utah natives. The doctors and the entire staff at Desert Pain Specialists are dedicated to helping patients find relief from their pain.

Desert Pain Specialists is located in the Coral Desert Health Center, 1490 Foremaster Drive, Suite 220 in St. George. The team has additional offices in Cedar City – 1760 N. Main St.- and Mesquite, Nevada – 340 Falcon Ridge Parkway, Suite 600.

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  • Foxyheart July 14, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Wow an ad on the first ‘page’. I am so sick of ads everywhere and to feature it as a news item is sick.

  • Sapphire July 14, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    As a person who is in a lot of pain, I am glad to hear about this. It is more than an ad, it is information about new local options.

  • Billy Bob Ray July 14, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    This isn’t an ad. It is BIG news. I wish this had been available six years ago.

    As the pain worsened I tried physical theraphy, the injections, etc. Nothing provided any relief.

    When the pain got more severe pain I finally decided to have two disks in my back fused. The pain was better for awhile, but eventually grew worse, so I had a surgery to remove the hardware. The pain continued after the hardware was removed, so I had two other disks fused. Now I have really uncomfortable pain about 70% of the time. About 30% of the time the pain is so severe that I cannot find any way that provides relief. In fact, the pain is so severe most of the time that I cannot even drive. There are times that someone will take me out to get groceries but I have to turn around and go back home. It is that bad.

    Once the disks are fused that’s it. They are fused. There is no going back. It sounds that this procedure might allow going back if it does not provide relief.

    By the way, all of the above surgeries were performed using two different surgeons. Both of them had very good reputations and great success rates. It was not to be so for me…….

  • trackcyclist July 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Southwest Spine and Pain was the first to be trained and qualified to do this new procedure. They clearly have more experience and would easily be my first choice.

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