Back injury procedure for young athletes

Health Watch

A painful back injury took one young hockey player out of the game and into the operating room! But a new minimally invasive procedure got him back on the ice!

Nick Mucerino’s passion has always been hockey.

Nick Mucerino said, “My mom took me to a lot of the games and I kinda just developed a love for the sport.”

But after a big hit on the ice, the 16-year-old started feeling severe pain in his lower back.

Mucerino said, “The way I can describe it is somebody taking an ice pick down your spine.”

Turns out nick suffered a pars fracture.

Allan D. Levi MD, Ph.D., FACS, Professor and Chairman of Neurosurgery. University of Miami Miller School of Medicine said, “The pars is a part of your spine. It can be fractured after repetitive stress and strain, particularly after sports.”

It’s a common injury in young athletes who play football, soccer, hockey or ballet.

Doctor Levi said, “In fact, some of the fractures will actually heal on their own.”

But when nick’s injury didn’t improve after six months of physical therapy, he was offered a unique procedure.

“It’s a technique where you basically use a minimally invasive approach to put screws across the fracture site,” said Doctor Levi.

Doctor Allan Levi at the University of Miami developed the procedure, that uses two small incisions.

Doctor Levi said, “We put a pin through the fracture. Then we get an intraoperative cat scan to make sure the pin is exactly where we want it to be.”

Screws are placed across the fractured bone to promote fusion. Six months after his surgery, nick was ready to get back on the ice. Now enrolled in law school, nick still loves to get in the rink and play. His back pain is gone.

Mucerino said, “It hasn’t limited me in any way.”

Doctor Levi says there is less blood loss and less dissection of the spine muscles so patients have less pain.

Most patients go home the next day after surgery and undergo about three months of physical therapy.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Follow Us