Virtua - as far as you need to go for nationally recognized spine surgery
Regina Connell of Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, was
recovering from herniated disc surgery at Virtua
Marlton Hospital when the phone rang. It was Virtua
neurosurgeon Tariq S. Siddiqi, MD, co-director of the
Virtua spine program, who had operated on Connell
just hours before. "Hi Regina, it's Dr. Siddiqi. I wanted
to see how you were feeling." Stunned, Connell took
the phone away from her ear and looked at her husband
sitting next to her.
"Since I live right outside of Philadelphia, my
husband was adamant that I go to a hospital close
to home," says Connell. "But, I was wary of going
to a Philadelphia teaching hospital as I heard that
interns or residents often perform surgeries under
the direction of the physician."
At Virtua, the surgeon whom you meet prior to
surgery is also the one who performs it the day of
surgery. "This was my first time having surgery so
it was important to me that my surgeon be involved
from the beginning to the end," says Connell. "When
Dr. Siddiqi called after my surgery, I knew I had
made the right decision."
Coming to terms with surgery
Fifty-year-old Connell considers herself an avid
exerciser.When she's not running eight to 10 miles
every other day, she's taking aerobic classes at her
local gym. But last October, while going for a jog,
Connell felt a stabbing pain that shot all the way down
her left leg. It didn't help that she had a 40-minute
drive to work. "I remember sitting in traffic and crying
on the way to work every morning," says Connell.
"The pain was so unbearable." Connell tried medication
for relief, but nothing seemed to work. That's
when Connell started thinking about surgery.
Innovations in spine surgery
Minimally invasive surgery for spine disorders has
been used for decades. But, with new technology, it
has become even less invasive. "Today we use tools
known as less invasive surgery (LIS) instruments that
decrease the incision length, provide surgeons with a
better field of vision and allow surgeons to insert bone
grafts or perform a spinal fusion without having to
make another incision," says Steven Kirshner, MD,
co-director of the Virtua spine program. "This helps
preserve healthy muscle and tissue, reduce blood
loss and cause less scarring."
Multidisciplinary approach to care
What also sets Virtua apart from the competition is
its multidisciplinary approach to care. "We have a spine
council at Virtua that meets once a month to review
patient charts and discuss the latest technology for spine
care," says Dr. Siddiqi. "The council also implements
performance improvements so we are always providing
patients with the best care."Virtua orthopaedic surgeons
like Dr. Kirshner and neurosurgeons like Dr. Siddiqi also
work closely together during surgery. Patients meet a
team of physical and occupational therapists the day
after surgery to get them up and moving.
Faster return to normal activities
Because Dr. Siddiqi used a less invasive approach to
Connell's surgery, she was out of work for only one
month as opposed to the six- to 12-week recovery
time that traditional surgery requires. In fact, she was
up and moving the day after surgery and went home
the following day. Today, she is getting back to her
workout routine. "With the help of Virtua's physical
therapists, I've even learned that exercises like
swimming and walking will keep my back healthy
Steven Kirshner, MD, is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon who
received his medical degree and completed an orthopaedic residency at
Hahnemann University Hospital. He also completed a fellowship in spine
surgery at the Texas Institute for Spinal Disorders.
Tariq S. Siddiqi, MD, is a graduate of the University of Karachi in
Pakistan. He completed a residency in neurosurgery at Kings County Hospital,
Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York; Hahnemann University
Hospital in Philadelphia; and at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.
He also completed a residency in neurology at Hahnemann University Hospital
and a residency in microbiology at Temple University Hospital. Board certified
in neurosurgery, Dr. Siddiqi is also an assistant professor of neurological surgery
at Thomas Jefferson University.