SARASOTA – Lumber Spinal Stenosis is a debilitating condition. It develops overtime and it’s something we can’t prevent, but a new, minimally invasive treatment is on the Suncoast.


Paul Daniel tried it all. “For about a year and a half getting cortisone shots,” he says. He had lumbar spinal stenosis, a condition when soft tissue between vertebrae is worn down, causing pain in the back and down the legs.


Daniel couldn’t walk more than 500 feet without sitting down, until he heard about indirect spinal decompression. “When he said it was a new device I wasn’t familiar with how many times he had done it or what it was,” says Daniel.


It was Doctor Eugene Pereira’s first procedure at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and the first hospital in the region performing the procedure.


“It’s like driving a wedge between the spines of the backbone and causing a little distraction or opening of the spaces where the nerves come out from,” explains Pereira. During the 30 minute procedure the patient lays face down so the vertebrae open up and the spacers fit right in.


Daniel gave it a try and when he woke up, “I could walk without the pain I had, it was immediate relief,” he says. “You’re not supposed to walk out of the recovery room, but I did.”


The implant is called Superion from the company Vertiflex. “They have four year data showing that their patients are still 80% improved from their initial pre–procedure phase,” says Pereira.


A month after the minimally invasive procedure, “I can do the things I couldn’t do before,” says Daniel. “I literally have walked the length of Lido from the north end all the way to the south end and back.”


He’s even lacing up his dancing shoes again. “Doctor Pereira gave me my life back,” says Daniel.


Not everyone qualifies. The procedure is for patients who have tried six months of alternative treatment without pain relief. It’s also for people whose doctor believes surgery may be too demanding.