Buffalo General Spinal Surgery Offers Hope and Relief for Those Suffering from Flexion Deformity of the Spine

Released: 2/28/2005

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Edward D. Simmons, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Buffalo General Hospital, recently performed a spinal osteotomy for correction of flexion deformity.

David Joyner, a retired aircraft engineer from Asheboro, North Carolina, traveled to Buffalo for the procedure.  After suffering from years of arthritis and a subsequent broken neck that did not heal correctly, Duke University Hospital referred him to Buffalo General Hospital and Dr. Simmons.

“This is a rare procedure, which helps correct rigid deformities of the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine that are severely impairing a patient’s quality of life,” said Dr. Simmons, of Simmons Orthopedic & Spine Associates.  “Post operatively, with physical and occupational therapy, the patient can return to a normal semblance of life.”

In Joyner’s case, it means being able to look people in the eye again, eat and drink normally, even walk a straight line without tripping or falling.

When he arrived in Buffalo earlier this month, Joyner’s chin was resting on his chest.  His cervical spine had fused incorrectly, he could barely swallow and had little range of motion.

Aside from the broken neck, he suffered for years from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis of the spine.  With ossification in this type of arthritis, Joyner’s spine fused in the abnormal position.

During the surgery, Dr. Simmons places the patient in a dentist’s chair, under local anesthetic and heavy sedation.  After the incision is made and the vertebral lamina is removed, the head is lifted in an upright position, producing the osteoclasis, or the intentional surgical fracture of the bone to correct the deformity.  A halo vest is then applied to immobilize the head and neck, and the wound is closed.

Joyner is expected to make a fully recovery.

“While I am glad that I went through with the procedure, I am looking forward to going home,” said Joyner.  “The staff at Buffalo General has been great and treated me well.”

Dr. Simmons, one of the leading orthopaedic and spine surgeons in Western New York, has performed nearly 140 osteotomy for ankylosing spondylitis over the past 15 years.  He is widely recognized as the leading surgeon in this specialty and sees patients from across the world for treatment.

Contact Information:
Michael P. Hughes
Phone: (716) 859-8066