Posted byOrthoEx Posted in
Posted on Nov 01, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La.Nov. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Dr. Marco A. Rodriguez, M.D., a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon has a least invasive philosophy when it comes to spine procedures and surgery. He launched the International Spine Institute in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to give patients an option for more effective treatment of a variety of degenerative spinal conditions, including herniated disc, sciatica, low back pain, spinal stenosis, neck pain, spondylolisthesis, and failed back surgery.

According to research in the Epidemiology of Spine Care: The Back Pain Dilemma, low back pain disorders are among the most frequently encountered problems in clinical medicine. Research shows that low back pain affects up to 80 percent of the population at some point in life. Another study, The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain, noted that low back pain is the second most common cause of disability for adults in the United States and a common reason for lost workdays. The study notes that the condition is also costly with total costs estimated to be between $100 to 200 billionannually, two-thirds of which are due to decreased wages and productivity.

Several treatment options have evolved in order to treat the low back pain, but all too often the least invasive procedure is not the one most tried and recommended. “Currently, patients suffering from low back facet related pain, who failed conservative treatment options, are treated by pain management doctors with facet injections or medial branch nerve blocks. If these injections achieve short-term relief, a percutaneous radiofrequency nerve ablation (RFA) procedure is usually performed. The RFA procedure achieves pain relief in about 75 percent of patients and it lasts about 12 months average,” says Dr. Rodriguez. The research is showing that while these procedures may show a short-term improvement in pain, the long-term benefits are not evident.

Spine surgery is another option and ranges from well-established approaches for lumbar discectomy and/or spinal canal decompression to spinal fusion. Although surgery and spinal fusion are effective for some select conditions, many patients forego these options due to fear of long painful recovery (2-6 months) and slow return to work. Those that are candidates for surgery often experience long painful recovery and lost productivity and wages. The Long-term Outcomes of Lumbar Fusion Among Workers’ Compensation Subjects: a historical cohort study, showed that two years after spinal fusion surgery only 26 percent of fusion cases had returned to work, while 67 percent who had tried nonsurgical procedures had gone back to work. The reoperation rate was 27 percent and 36 percent had complications. For lumbar fusion patients, the daily opioid use also increased 41 percent after surgery, with 76 percent of cases continuing opioid use after surgery.

Dr. Rodriguez has aimed to bridge the gap between pain management and spinal surgery with a philosophy of least invasive procedures. His goal is to provide a non-fusion option that gives people their lives back quickly and with as little pain and recovery as possible. Pain management is relevant and helpful in order to pinpoint the pain generator in the low back, and some of the facet joint injections and interventional procedures provide temporary relief for some patients. For many patients they don’t get long lasting relief. Often when patients fail pain management, they are referred to spinal surgeons.  According to Dr. Rodriguez, there are too many spinal fusions done with poor outcomes and long recovery.

The study Long-Term Results of Endoscopic Dorsal Ramus Rhizotomy and Anatomic Variations of the Painful Lumbar Facet Jointshowed that “Endoscopic lumbar medial branch rhizotomy is safe, effective, and provides long-term benefit up to five years post-procedure. The endoscopic approach affords clinically superior longevity when compared to published results of radiofrequency ablation.”

At the International Spine Institute, Dr. Rodriguez focuses on endoscopic rhizotomy and discectomy surgery, which provide effective long-term relief from low back pain without the long recovery of spinal fusion. These procedures are done under conscious sedation or local anesthetic in an outpatient setting. This is done through a 1/2 inch incision for endoscopic. Patients experience minimal pain and discomfort and return to work and an active lifestyle as early as two weeks.

The endoscopic rhizotomy procedure alone has decreased the number of spinal fusions in Dr. Rodriguez’s practice significantly. He finds that most patients would rather have a least invasive, fusion sparing procedure than a spinal fusion or return to pain management every six to eight months for another RFA. His patient’s results have been astounding.

To learn more about Dr. Rodriguez and the International Spine Institute, visit

About International Spine Institute
The International Spine Institute, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are leaders in less invasive spine procedures and surgery. Dr. Marco A. Rodriguez and his team strive to listen to patient’s needs and provide solutions that restore function, relieve pain, and help patients regain their quality of life. International Spine Institute’s motto is “Less Is So Much More.” For more information, visit

Related Images

Dr. Marco A. Rodriguez of the International Spine Institute in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Endoscopic Rhizotomy

Dr. Marco A. Rodriguez, MD International Spine Institute


SOURCE International Spine Institute