ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford Spine Center is pleased to announce a successful new procedure to correct severe deformities of the spine. Transforaminal Anterior Release, or TFAR, is at the forefront of spine surgery techniques. Dr. Fred Sweet, fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon, devised the method in 2005 and he and his partners Dr. Michael Roh and Dr. Christopher Sliva have utilized the technique on more than 70 patients in the past 8 years.
TFAR is used to correct fixed sagittal imbalance and segmental kyphosis, in other words a severely crooked spine. Many of these patients are unable to stand up straight, walk without assistance or lead an enjoyable life. Nerves may become pinched as the deformity worsens leaving many of the patients in extreme pain.
“Everyone suffers from some level of kyphosis or forward bending as they age, but the cases we’re treating are severe,” notes Dr. Sweet. “Historically the surgery to treat these conditions is extremely complex with high complication rates.”
Without cutting through any bone, Dr. Sweet devised the method to straighten the spine through the disc where there are no blood vessels. The results are shorter operating times – from 8-14 hours down to 4-6 hours – and less blood loss.
“This method puts a lot less stress on the patient because they aren’t receiving as much anesthesia and the recovery process is easier,” said Dr. Sweet. “TFAR is changing lives and we are pleased we can offer this alternative to our patients and return them to a healthy lifestyle.”
Additionally, the technique extends the ability to correct severe spinal deformities to patients that may have multiple medical conditions and/or more advanced age that otherwise would not have been a candidate for traditional techniques.
Dr. Sweet has been sharing his results with his peers in the medical field. He presented a paper on TFAR at the International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in July. The meeting is attended by approximately 1,400 spine surgeons from around the world. Dr. Sweet will make a similar presentation at Washington University in September.