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Misonix Supports Uganda Spine Surgery Mission with Ultrasonic BoneScalpelT

Thu, 09/12/2013 - 5:09pm
The Associated Press

Misonix, Inc., an international surgical device company that designs, manufactures and markets innovative therapeutic ultrasonic products for spine surgery, skull based surgery, neurosurgery, wound debridement, cosmetic surgery, laparoscopic surgery and other surgical applications, announced today that it supported this year's Uganda Spine Surgery Mission organized by leading spine surgeon Dr. Isador Lieberman, from the Texas Back Institute in Plano, TX, by donating the use of the ultrasonic BoneScalpel during the performed spinal surgeries.

The Uganda Spine Surgery Mission was founded in 2006 by Dr. Mark Kayanja (originally from Uganda) and Dr. Lieberman with the purpose of providing the best possible spine care to Ugandan patients afflicted by infectious, degenerative, traumatic and congenital spinal ailments.  In addition, the Mission strives to provide a fertile environment for the education of those who serve these patients. Every summer an international team of surgeons and nursing staff continues to donate several weeks of their time to perform as many complex spine surgeries as possible in the visit's time frame. The spine surgeries are often life-altering procedures for grateful patients who have suffered from severe deformities over years, sometimes decades and who would otherwise have no chance of ever undergoing surgical treatment.

This year's mission was from August 12 to 21 at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital which recently added a new hospital wing, including an Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department and Operating Theatres. A total of 120 patients were screened upon arrival. The patients in some circumstances had waited for days with their families for the team's arrival. Twelve of the sickest and most pressing cases were carefully selected for surgery. The surgeries themselves, complex enough from a medical perspective, were routinely interrupted by power outages and other surprises that took the team's continuous ingenuity to tackle.

The Misonix BoneScalpelT is a unique ultrasonic osteotome for tissue-selective bone dissection that encourages en-bloc bone removal and refined osteotomies while sparing elastic soft tissue structures such as important nerves and arteries. Therapeutic ultrasound is well known for its coagulative effects and the BoneScalpel has been reported to substantially reduce blood loss in multilevel spinal osteotomies.

Dr. Lieberman has been a long-term user of the BoneScalpel at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, TX, and his experience of using it in over 120 surgeries was published in 2013 by the European Spine Journal. In Dr. Lieberman's view, the BoneScalpel facilitates bone cutting in a wide variety of spine surgeries. He sees it as a significant advancement over highspeed drills that can dangerously wrap soft tissue matters around their spinning tips or over manual mallets and chisels with their heavy pounding on the spinal column.

Using BoneScalpel, he has embraced a much more delicate and tissue-specific approach to decompress injured nerve roots, up to the development of newer cutting techniques that he is currently refining.

Dr. Lieberman has fully incorporated the BoneScalpel into his surgical routine, using it on every case, in addition to his educational program for training spine fellows and visiting surgeons.

"The Uganda mission has a very special place in my heart," stated Dr. Isador Lieberman. "It goes back to the sincere request of a former fellow of mine, Mark Kayanja, who inspired me to make a difference by coming with him to Uganda to develop a spine surgery program for the less fortunate. Today, after nine mission trips to Uganda, having provided spine care to well over 400 patients, and establishing lifelong relationships, I am deeply indebted to him. By getting me involved in Uganda he has re-affirmed in my mind why I am a physician." "The addition of the BoneScalpel was of tremendous help this year," continues the Canadian born surgeon. "Not only did I use it in all but one of the surgeries, but I also used it to its fullest advantage when performing a pedicle subtraction osteotomy and a hemi vertebrectomy, both very complex procedures usually with a lot of bone bleeding. The BoneScalpel reduced the bleeding significantly which helped to maintain the patients' fluid balance and made these surgeries a lot easier in this extremely demanding environment.  The BoneScalpel has changed spine surgery in Uganda forever. I am very grateful for the support from Misonix for this mission and hope for many more to come."

Michael A. McManus, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Misonix said, "We are extremely pleased to be able to help support Dr. Lieberman and the Uganda Spine Surgery Mission. The work being done by Dr. Lieberman in the U.S. and Africa has been remarkable, not only in demonstrating the benefits of BoneScalpel, but also in providing safe and advanced surgery benefits to his many patients.  His efforts to help the less fortunate are inspirational."

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