HOW I FOUND MY RHYTHM WHEN THE MUSIC STOPPED

At a time in everyone’s life, we come to find ourselves in a situation where the music stops, and we must go on.  The unfortunate truth about life is that the unexpected will happen. Some of us learn from it, some of us change because of it and some of us find our life’s calling because of it. The latter was the case for me.  After our dad picked us up from middle school, we spent that afternoon like we had every afternoon that month. We went to the oncology unit at the hospital, where my brother was admitted.

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THE MAN IN A BLUE SARONG

I remember him. I remember the man in the dark blue sarong the same way I remember the lines on back of my own hand. He was hunched over next to a column on a dirty platform at a railway station in Calcutta, India in the middle of the harsh summer sun. His hands were withered, his fingers and toes looked like tiny nubs, and he was completely malnourished and alone. He had opaque blue eyes, as if fog had taken place of his irises and pupils.

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PATIENT “OWNERSHIP”

I studied insects in college; my favorite insects were the bees (I found them diligent and so helpful to humankind).  One of my favorite classes was about medical diseases caused by insects. My professors noticed my interest in the medical side of things and connected me with a professor who did clinical research. Our work focused on a clinical trial for children with intractable epilepsy and exposed me early on to patient care and patients.

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How do people get a consultation to find out if they are candidates for MILD?

“I have to have an MRI to know if there is thickening of the ligament,” Dr. Ganzel said. “If a patient has had an MRI elsewhere in the last year, that will work, but longer than that allows for too many changes in the body to develop, which might result in an improper  clinical decision. Just contact us at The Pain Treatment Center and we will set up a consultation.”


Dr. Ganzel adds the procedure has worked wonderfully and with great success for many qualified candidates. “I wouldn’t spend time training on it and offering it to my patients if I didn’t believe in it 100 percent,” he said. Nor would the founder of The Pain Treatment Center, Dr. Ballard Wright, have undergone the procedure himself if he didn’t believe in it; and, in fact, he did, experiencing wonderful results and allowing him to once again walk without the use of a cane.


For more information on MILD and other services at The Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass, call (859)278-1316 ext. 258

The Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass is the largest freestanding facility in Kentucky dedicated to the treatment of pain. It hosts 11 physicians of varying specialties and sub-specialties, all who have the goal of pain alleviation and management. Dr. Steven Ganzel, one of the doctors practicing at the Center, has recently added Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression (MILD) treatment to his list of services for those seeking relief from pain and suffering.


“Vertos Medical, Inc. is the company that developed the MILD Treatment,” Dr. Ganzel said. “They supply the necessary instrumentation to those doctors trained in the technique. I trained in this specifically because I saw the benefit it was giving many patients, and now I’ve been offering it to those who meet the criteria and seeing a great deal of success.”


What are the criteria to receive the treatment?

“The person has to be 66 years of age and they have to have a thickening of the ligamentum flavum,” Dr. Ganzel explained.  These ligaments that run along the lower spine tend to thicken with age and degeneration of the bone and discs. The ligaments start to take on more and more burden as those other structures are compromised. This usually leads to weakness in the lower back and legs, which is called neurogenic claudication. The pathways through the back narrow and the nerves are constricted. This can also be hastened by arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

BY THE PAIN TREATMENT CENTER

If the person has had a fusion or spinal surgery in the past 12 months, he or she is not a candidate for MILD treatment.


Why is the procedure gaining momentum now?

“When Vertos first introduced the procedure, it did well for three to four years, then went into a bit of a lull due to clinical trials and other issues,” said Dr. Ganzel. “Around 2016, it was given the full green light and is now picking up steam as a terrific procedure for pain relief.”


What are the advantages of this procedure?

“The biggest advantage is that the convalescence is minimal,” Dr. Ganzel said. “Minimally invasive means just that. We go through two small holes to do the procedure, and it takes less than an hour to do both sides.  By de-bulking the ligaments, the patient will find tremendous relief, and they are usually up and about within a few days versus up to six months for some spinal surgeries. Anesthesia is usually not necessary. Some patients do require ambulatory services, which are provided by the clinic since we are a full-service facility..”

THE PAIN TREATMENT CENTER

The Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass is the largest freestanding facility in the Bluegrass Region dedicated to the treatment of pain. We specialize in treating patients for whom traditional medical/surgical methods have failed to alleviate their pain.