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Winter 2015
Walking Tall After A Spinal Tumor
Fortify I Corpectomy Spacer Supports Spine After Tumor Removal



In 2013, kidney cancer claimed one of Ed Uslick’s kidneys. His followup scan in January 2014 showed a spot on his L1 vertebra. Further tests revealed that renal cell cancer had spread to Ed’s spine. He was then referred to neurosurgeon Kevin Cahill, MD, PhD, MPH, at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates.

“Renal cell cancer responds well to surgical resection. To remove Mr. Uslick’s tumor, we also needed to remove the entire vertebral body that was affected,” said Dr. Cahill.

“My wife and I were scared when we heard the diagnosis,” said Ed. “I was worried about having surgery on my spine, but Dr. Cahill explained every step of the procedure and said he could help me live a normal life after recovery.”

fortify I device Ed underwent a minimally invasive en bloc lateral corpectomy for tumor resection. Dr. Cahill and orthopaedic spine surgeon, Samuel Chewning, MD, MBA, worked together to remove the cancerous vertebrae and replaced it with a Fortify I Corpectomy Spacer.

This vertebral body replacement device is used in the thoracolumbar spine (T1-L5) to replace a collapsed, damaged or unstable vertebral body due to tumor or trauma. This system provides anterior column support for individual and multiple level corpectomy patients.

“The Fortify I device has an expandable cage that allows surgery to be performed with a smaller incision,” said Dr. Cahill.

After five days in the hospital, Ed returned home for an easy recovery. “It was remarkable. I was sitting up in a chair just two days after surgery and was walking on my own within 10 days after I got home from the hospital,” he said.

Physical therapy after surgery has proved very beneficial. Ed can now move side to side without challenge and he will soon be able to touch his toes. Best of all, follow-up scans indicate no signs of cancer in his body.

“As far as the surgery, it really was a walk in the park. I would recommend this procedure to anyone who is in the same position as I was. I am truly amazed at what is possible through technology,” said Ed.

To learn more about our spine services, click here or call 800-344-6716.

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