New procedure at UAMS helps patient

An 80-year-old senior Olympian is looking forward to getting back to his training. A goal that he may have though impossible after debilitating back pain last year. A UAMS doctor performed a new procedure on the patient. Now he's on his way to a full recovery. After four unsuccessful back surgeries, Frank Dicus was almost ready to give up hope.

"The first time I had the surgery, I was having extreme pain running down my leg," Frank Dicus, back surgery patient said.

"He was in a lot of pain. He couldn't sit down," Judy Dicus, Frank's wife said. "He was just itching to get back to work."

Dicus thought at first it was a pinched nerve. He had surgery late last year, but soon had to go back for other surgeries when his pain returned. It happened again and again.

"Then I kept searching saying, I know there has got to be a better way to get rid of this pain. So I came to UAMS and found Dr. Kazemi. He took care of me and everything went well," Dicus said.

The method Dr. Noojan Kazemi used is called a lateral procedure. There are few doctors that do it in Arkansas.

"Essentially through a very small incision and then through a small tube we're able to come down and access the spine in a minimally invasive fashion and then perform what we need to on the spine that way," Dr. Kazemi, UAMS Neurosurgeon said.

This method is not only less invasive, it minimizes potential trauma to the rest of the tissues of the body and it minimizes pain. Patients can go home sooner.

"He's a very active guy. He still works. We want him to continue that lifestyle and his activities of daily living," Dr. Kazemi said.

Which include training for the senior Olympics and yard work.

"I'm doing everything I couldn't do before," Dicus said. "I feel great."

Dr. Kazemi says that UAMS started this lateral procedure last year. They do about 20 or 30 a year.

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