Arizona Becomes a National Center for Minimally Invasive Treatment of Serious Spine Disease; Top Surgeons Bring Endoscopic Spine Fusion to Grand Canyon State

PHOENIX, Ariz., and PLAINVILLE, Mass., Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Arizona has become a hotbed for surgical innovation, especially regarding the minimally invasive treatment of serious spine disease. In a move to broaden awareness about minimally invasive treatment options for Arizona patients who require spine fusion surgery, top area surgeons Edward Dohring MD, Michael Winer MD, and Gary Lowery MD, PhD - all nationally recognized leaders in orthopaedic surgery - recently led a successful medical education program in Scottsdale for physicians, case managers and other healthcare professionals. Attendees learned about a new, safe and successful endoscopic spine fusion procedure, and improved clinical outcomes of this minimally invasive approach.

This recent educational event is part of a broad national educational campaign funded by endoscopic spine surgery pioneer Endius, developer of the Atavi(TM) Atraumatic Spine Fusion System, to inform front-line medical professionals about minimally invasive alternatives to open spine fusion for treatment of serious spine disorders, such as degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis or stenosis. Phoenix is considered a center for surgeon training in the new technique, with several local surgeons taking lead roles in Endius' national education initiative that has trained more than 200 surgeons to date. Nearly 50 of those have been trained either in Arizona, or by an Arizona surgeon on how to perform endoscopic spinal fusion.

An increasing number of patients in Arizona are undergoing the endoscopic spine fusion procedure, which uses two small incisions (one to one-and-a-half inches) instead of the traditional large (six inch) incision. The procedure has been covered by traditional medical insurance and workers' compensation insurance. To date, more than 350 patients in the U.S. have benefited from the endoscopic procedure in terms of faster recovery time and the ability to quickly resume their normal daily routines, including returning to work. Clinical results from the endoscopic procedure show significant benefits compared to the traditional open procedure, including a 65 percent reduction in patient pain, and a potential 21 percent reduction in hospital costs.

"The greater Phoenix area is clearly recognized as one of the nation's fastest growing medical training centers, which is why we chose to focus our expanded educational initiatives here," said Don Grilli, chairman and CEO of Endius. "Of the nearly 12 million people who suffer from chronic back pain, one million will require some type of surgical intervention. These individuals and their caretakers need to know that there are significantly less invasive options available - versus the traditional, highly traumatic open spine fusion procedure. Our educational efforts in Arizona are intended to enlighten healthcare professionals who refer patients for surgery, so that an increased number of appropriate patient candidates can benefit from this minimally invasive alternative."

The benefits of Endius' minimally invasive spine fusion procedure are compelling when looking at real case examples. For example, an Arizona attorney in her early 30's herniated a disc in her lower back in 1991. For nearly 10 years, she endured excruciating pain in her back and legs, countless hours of physical therapy, and an initial laminectomy surgery that only resulted in short term relief. When faced with the prospect of undergoing another painful surgery, she was hesitant. Her surgeon informed her about the endoscopic spine fusion procedure, and within a few days of this surgery, she was up and walking and getting back to her everyday routine, without the need for pain medication. There are a growing number of Arizona patients who are happy to share similar success stories.

During the recent educational event in Scottsdale, surgeon presentations included an overview of chronic back pain treatment options; indications for traditional lumbar spine fusion surgery; an overview of endoscopic spine fusion; and case reviews. Dr. Edward Dohring of the Spine Institute of Arizona, Dr. Michael Winer of the Arizona SpineCare Alliance, and Dr. Gary Lowery of Research Institute International are currently performing the endoscopic surgical technique at Arizona hospitals including Paradise Valley Hospital, Thunderbird Hospital, Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn and Shea, Maricopa Medical Center, and Phoenix St. Luke's Medical Center.

About Atavi

Atavi is the only single, integrated surgical system to combine unique access technology, and sophisticated endoscopic visualization and instrumentation capabilities to enable surgeons to perform all the steps of an open fusion procedure, using a minimally invasive approach. With Atavi, surgeons can perform a complete lumbar spine fusion endoscopically - including preparation of the fusion bed, delivery of bone graft and placement of posterior fixation devices, up to two levels - along with the ability to place interbody spinal implants and perform decompression, all through the same one- inch access portal.

About Endius

Founded in 1997, Endius is acknowledged as the industry's endoscopic spine fusion surgery pioneer, developing breakthrough endoscopic spine surgery products and implants to treat serious spine disease. Atavi(TM), Endius' Atraumatic Spine Fusion System, which obtained FDA clearance of its 510(k) in October 2000, is currently being utilized in hospitals nationwide. Atavi is the only fully integrated system that enables surgeons to perform lumbar spine fusion endoscopically, through one access portal, and without changing the surgeon's traditional technique. Endius provides comprehensive surgeon education programs, and operates training facilities across the U.S. More information about Plainville, Mass.-based Endius can be found at
For more information, contact:

Liz Campbell Lauren Cohen

The Portico Group (for Endius) Endius, Inc.

ph: 781-541-6504 ph: 800-955-6358 x103