Who do doctors go to when they experience back pain? This article describes how Dr. Anthony Yeung not only helped one physician with his pain, but also acted as an inspiration to learn more about minimally invasive surgery.
Written by Laura Miller | February 08, 2013Arnold Feldman, MD, founder of The Feldman Institute in Baton Rouge, La., was originally trained as an anesthesiologist 30 years ago and treated many failed back surgery patients in his office. After an injury left him with chronic back pain, Dr. Feldman began his search for a less disruptive procedure than the traditional laminectomy and discectomy. Here, Dr. Feldman discusses what he found, how he trained on the procedure himself and where he sees minimally invasive surgical technique headed in the future.
Q: Why did you decide to learn minimally invasive surgical technique?
AF: I gave nerve blocks to relieve back pain for many people with failed back surgery. There were a significant number of failures early in my practice — these were patients that had good surgeries from good surgeons and healed incisions, but they just didn’t do well. The treatment for those patients burgeoned in my practice from epidurals and nerve blocks to implantations of spinal morphine and opioid systems as well as electronic stimulators.
In my view, spine surgery is the only procedure to also have a separate CPT code for failed surgery. Significant subsets of these patients we operate on don’t do well, despite our best efforts.
When I became a back pain patient, I didn’t want to go through open back surgery. I was respectful of the fact that it could help, but it might not. I waited four years and then found Dr. Anthony Yeung, a very smart and driven man, developed his own minimally invasive procedure to relieve pain. Dr. Yeung performed the surgery for me and I went from four years of pain to feeling better after 15 minutes. That was a game-changing experience; this is a disruptive technology. Yet, it hasn’t changed the practice of spine as much as it should have.