Rockford Spine Center shares success of new spine procedure

Online Staff Report

Rockford Spine Center has announced a successful new procedure to correct severe deformities of the spine. Transforaminal Anterior Release (TFAR) is at the forefront of spine surgery techniques. Dr. Fred Sweet, fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon, devised the method in 2005, and he and his partners — Dr. Michael Roh and Dr. Christopher Sliva — have utilized the technique on more than 70 patients in the past eight years.

TFAR is used to correct fixed sagittal imbalance and segmental kyphosis … in other words, a severely crooked spine. Many of these patients are unable to stand up straight, walk without assistance or lead an enjoyable life. Nerves may become pinched as the deformity worsens, leaving many of the patients in extreme pain.

Everyone suffers from some level of kyphosis or forward bending as they age, but the cases we’re treating are severe,” Dr. Sweet said. “Historically, the surgery to treat these conditions is extremely complex with high complication rates.”

Without cutting through any bone, Dr. Sweet devised the method to straighten the spine through the disc where there are no blood vessels. The results are shorter operating times — from eight to 14 hours down to four to six hours — and less blood loss.

This method puts a lot less stress on the patient because they aren’t receiving as much anesthesia and the recovery process is easier,” Dr. Sweet said. “TFAR is changing lives and we are pleased we can offer this alternative to our patients and return them to a healthy lifestyle.”

Additionally, the technique extends the ability to correct severe spinal deformities to patients who may have multiple medical conditions and/or more advanced age that otherwise would not have been a candidate for traditional techniques.

Dr. Sweet has been sharing his results with his peers in the medical field. He presented a paper about TFAR at the International Meeting on Advanced Spine Techniques (IMAST) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in July. The meeting is attended by approximately 1,400 spine surgeons from around the world. Dr. Sweet will make a similar presentation at Washington University in September.

Rockford Spine Center is celebrating 10 years of service in 2013. The facility, dedicated exclusively to spinal care, has the combined expertise of three fellowship-trained spine surgeons and a Mayo Clinic-trained physiatrist.

Rockford Spine Center’s team of experts uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat spinal disorders, ranging from simple to the most complex cases. The team has an advanced understanding of the spine and specializes in both surgical and non-surgical spinal disorders.

Rockford Spine Center has earned national recognition in Newsweek, is ranked among the Top 50 Spine Surgery Practices to Know in Becker’s Spine Review and earned the Patients’ Choice and Compassionate Doctor awards in 2011 and 2012.

For more about Rockford Spine Center, visit the company’s website at

Posted Oct. 2, 2013

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