Like Dr. Bovis’ approach with his brain tumor patients, patients suffering from back or neck pain coming to Dr. Bovis will soon understand a critical difference between him and other specialists. Simply put, he listens. Dr. Bovis will take the time to listen to your concerns without making you feel uncomfortable or rushed. He recognizes he’s not just treating a back or neck problem, but he’s treating a very special individual with a back or neck problem.

Dr. Bovis will conduct a thorough examination and talk to patients about their symptoms and lifestyle. Using advanced technology when necessary, Dr. Bovis will formulate a specific diagnosis that pinpoints the underlying cause of the pain. This carefully considered diagnosis will then become the cornerstone of the patients individualized treatment plan.

A critical component of care for a patient suffering back or neck pain is the patient’s compliance to the treatment recommendations made by their physician. Dr. Bovis highly values and relies upon the partnership he forms with each patient. He involves his patients in the decision-making process, to ensure their buy-in, which then facilitates adherence to the treatment regimen and better long-term patient outcomes.

Many patients back or neck pain resolves without surgery. Dr. Bovis collaborates with a team of non-surgical specialists, who utilize medications, physical therapy, injection therapy and other minimally-invasive treatments, to resolve back and neck pain without surgery. These treatment options, when prescribed in a judicious and strategic way, are highly effective at eliminating or significantly reducing stubborn pain.

In those cases where non-operative treatment is not successful, or in those patients that present with a progressive neurological deficit, such as leg or arm weakness, Dr. Bovis may recommend surgery.

Spine surgery has significantly advanced over the last few years. The surgical treatments for patients suffering from sciatica from a lumbar disc herniation, as well as patients with arm pain as a result of a herniated disc in the neck, are now performed in a minimally-invasive way. Dr. Bovis utilizes small incisions, and less disruption of muscles, which facilitates less pain after surgery and significantly shorter recovery times. The results of these procedures, when used in carefully selected patients, are excellent.

The recommended surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar laminectomy, is also now performed using a minimally-invasive approach. This surgery, which is typically performed on patients over the age of 50, allows even older patients to recover quickly.

In those patients where instability is identified in the spine which is causing the pain, Dr. Bovis will discuss the option of lumbar spinal fusion surgery. This surgical procedure is more involved than the discectomy and laminectomy procedures discussed above, but is likewise performed with a smaller incision and less disruption of muscles than the approach used by spine surgeons even just a few years ago. Should Dr. Bovis recommend a fusion, he firmly believes in a “team approach.” He works closely with fellowship-trained colleagues in orthopedic spine surgery, and will request that his patients seek a second opinion with them before proceeding with this type of surgery. Should a fusion be recommended, both Dr. Bovis and his orthopedic spine surgeon colleague will be in the operating room to provide patients with the best team treatment for optimal results from their spine surgery.

Dr. Bovis also believes in minimally invasive, motion-preserving techniques for patients suffering from neck and/or arm pain. Increasingly, artificial discs are offered as treatment options for patients with cervical pathology, or neck and/or arm pain, when conservative treatments fail. Although Dr. Bovis agrees that this technology holds promise, it currently cannot compare to the patient’s own natural anatomy for preserving motion. In a select group of patients, where cervical artificial disc replacement surgery has been advised, Dr. Bovis may recommend a posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy/discectomy as a more natural approach to eliminating the pain and preserving motion. With this surgical approach, no plates, screws, or artificial hardware are implanted in the spine. Rather, Dr. Bovis will remove small pieces of bone and/or disc material to provide more space for the compressed and/or irritated spinal nerve, thereby eliminating the pain.

Dr. Bovis performs spine surgery to treat back and neck pain at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Alexian Brothers Medical Center. He also welcomes questions about stubborn back or neck pain, or other degenerative spine conditions, including spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated or protruded discs or sciatica. Prospective patients are welcome to call (847) 698-1088 to schedule an appointment.