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HEALTHBEAT 4: Spinal Surgery

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- A healthy back and spine are essential to everything you do and discomfort can throw off your routine. Not everyone who has back pain needs surgery, but it is common.

When you experience that pain, seeing a neurosurgeon is important. Recently the Dunes Surgical Hospital was recognized as one of the best 100 hospitals for spine surgery in America by Healthgrades.

"When someone comes in as a new patient with back problems the first thing we do is determine if there is any sign of nerve damage," said Henk Klopper, CNOS Neurosurgeon. "And if there is not, then we try everything without surgery to get it better."

Dr. Henk Klooper is a neurosurgeon at CNOS. He said nerve pain is one of the most common reasons why people would need surgery.

"The two main reasons that people have surgery for a back problem is if they have got nerve damage from a nerve getting pinched or if they have pain that's miserable and not getting better with anything that is done," said Dr. Klooper.

If there is no sign of nerve damage, doctors will start other treatments like physical therapy or injections in the back. But, if none of those work, surgery becomes the next option. Dr. Klooper said patients with smaller surgeries typically go home the same day with some limitations for lifting and bending.

"With some of the bigger surgeries where people stay in the hospital we still get them up and moving the same day, but again there is some limitations for several weeks after surgery," said Dr. Klooper.

He said he's extremely proud to work at a place that puts patient quality first. It's something he said is evident from the Healthgrades recognition.
So what does he believe sets them apart?

"We focus very heavily on quality and patient outcomes," said Dr. Klooper. "It's something that we measure and pay a lot of attention to and talk about all the time and constantly look for ways to make things better. "

Dr. Klooper said many times spinal surgery only requires a small section of the spine to fix the problem. But, some cases do require more. He said seeing patients get relief is wonderful.

Michaela Feldmann

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