James St. Louis, DO, Discusses Minimally Invasive Laser Spine Surgery

James St. Louis, DOThe spine is designed to be strong and flexible, but it’s often a source of back pain. No matter the spinal condition, Physician Partners of America (PPOA) can help.

With more than 20 clinics across the United States, PPOA treats spine conditions with minimally invasive surgery as well as interventional pain management before and after surgery through methods like injections and spinal cord stimulators.

The director of PPOA’s Minimally Invasive Laser Spine Group is James St. Louis, DO, a Diplomate of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) in orthopedic surgery, and an orthopedic surgeon specially trained in using lasers to treat spine conditions. Dr. St. Louis says that one of the most common causes of back pain is disc degeneration. As we age, he explains, the discs between the vertebrae lose water and can collapse. When this happens, the spinal canals, or tunnels through which nerves pass, press against the nerves, causing pain.

This condition, known as spinal stenosis, can be treated with therapy, injections, or surgery. Minimally invasive surgery treats spinal stenosis by opening the top of the spinal canal to create more room for the nerve.

When Dr. St. Louis first started training, open spine surgery was the standard. Physicians would typically create an incision of 2 to 6 inches or larger, and would then cut muscles away from the vertebrae in order to reach the affected area. With minimally invasive procedures, the surgeon accesses the spine by creating small incisions and inserting a series of dilating tubes along with a tiny camera in a 16-, 18-, or 20-millimeter tube. The surgeon views the problem area by looking at a monitor.

Minimally invasive surgery usually results in less pain and faster recovery times than traditional open spine surgery. “Presuming patients are healthy, they can go home the same day and begin therapy the day after,” Dr. St. Louis says. “We also encourage people to walk and do light stretching to aid recovery.”

If you are an orthopedic resident or surgeon seeking to broaden your knowledge about innovative treatments like minimally invasive procedures and enhance your career opportunities, consider the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). As a nationally recognized choice for physician board certification, the ABPS offers certification in orthopedic surgery through its Member Board, the Board of Certification in Orthopedic Surgery (BCOS). For more information, contact the ABPS today.

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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine