New surgical procedure for back problems at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital


In a first for neurosurgery in Quebec, a doctor at the Jewish General Hospital is working on a new way to fix back problems like herniated disks and pinched nerves.

It takes less time than other procedures and patients are able to go home after a few hours.

Since June, this minimally-invasive surgery has been performed at the Jewish General Hospital seven times, but they hope to make it more commonplace.

The surgery is called spinal endoscopy. It's a technique which requires a small incision in the side of the patient, before a tube, similar to a straw, is inserted.

Once it's there, the doctor can put his instruments inside and perform the procedure.

A camera is also inside the tube so that surgeons can see what they are doing.

The surgery takes less than an hour, and patients can go home not long after.

Dr. Jeff Golan said he had to learn the process over seven weeks, travelling to the United States and Europe to learn.

He feels other doctors in Canada should take the time to learn and offer the procedure to their patients.

"I think people naturally want to have the least invasive way to take care of their problem. Patients nowadays are so well informed. They look online, they have cousins in other countries, they're coming to you with questions and they're challenging you. And they say 'how come they did this there and we're doing this here?'" said Dr. Golan.

"I've had a few patients that have gone to the U.S., that have paid $30, $40, $50,000 for very simple procedures that could easily be done here. And sometimes their outcomes were not so good."

Dr. Golan adds that he hopes to operate on nearly 150 patients a year with this technique.