January 27, 2022

Minimally invasive technique eases pain for Cayman Islands patient with rheumatoid disease

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Patient and Deputy Chairperson of the HSA Board Karie Bergstrom, who has been struggling with the pain of rheumatoid disease for 15 years, has found relief after undergoing a minimally invasive procedure at the Cayman Islands Hospital. This is the first time the procedure was performed in the Cayman Islands and, with the exception of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean.

The procedure performed is known as a sacroiliac fusion and is specifically done for patients with sacroiliac joint (SIJ) problems. SIJ problems can occur as a result of arthritis, injury, previous back fusion and, not infrequently, after childbirth. The diagnosis is made with a combination of examination tests and specific diagnostic injections.

Consultant Neurosurgeon Dr. Lowell Stanley performed the procedure on Ms. Bergstrom using a minimally invasive surgical option known as percutaneous sacroiliac fusion using the iFuse system.

Dr. Stanley explained, “Prior to minimally invasive technology, the sacroiliac fusion was performed using open surgery with a large incision, a lot of muscle damage and significant blood loss. Recovery required long procedures, extended hospital stays, painful post-operative course with extensive rehabilitation. For these reasons, the procedure was not frequently performed.

“This minimally invasive technique offers the possibility of relief to many suffering from SI joint problems who were not able or willing to undergo the previous extensive, open surgical operation,” he added.

The iFuse System is the most studied and most used minimally invasive system in the world with over 30,000 procedures already performed worldwide. It also has the best-proven record in effectiveness.

Just hours after her surgery, Ms. Bergstrom begun feeling a reduction in pain and was able to return home the day after the procedure.

Ms. Bergstrom opted for the procedure when she could no longer bear the leftover pain from a hip surgery she did in 2014 and 2017. “Pain relievers through the form of injections and physiotherapy weren’t working. When all else failed, Dr. Stanley found a solution and suggested the minimally invasive procedure. When it was completed I was very pleased to see that the scar was minor, a significant improvement in comparison to the scar left behind from my previous surgeries.

“The care and staff at the hospital have been wonderful from the moment I arrived at the Ambulatory Care Unit to my experience in the Operating Theatre and Surgical Unit. I hope to get back to a relatively normal life very soon,” said Ms. Bergstrom.

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