Lansing Residents with Spinal Pathology Now Have Access to Safer Spinal Surgery

Author: Sarah Barber

 “The new BrainLab navigation platform provides an interoperative CT scan that allows us to place spinal hardware in the exact location it needs to go."


According to Georgetown University, nearly 65 million Americans report a recent episode of back pain. Some 16 million adults — 8% of all adults — experience persistent or chronic back pain, and as a result are limited in certain everyday activities. While most cases of chronic low back or neck pain can be treated conservatively, surgery may be the best treatment in certain circumstances.

Those residents in Lansing who suffer from spinal disease that requires surgical intervention are getting good news. McLaren Greater Lansing has recently acquired new minimally invasive equipment that will make spine surgeries more accurate and safer for people requiring surgery on their back or neck.

“The new BrainLab navigation platform provides an interoperative CT scan that allows us to place spinal hardware in the exact location it needs to go,” said Clay Dorenkamp, DO, orthopedic spinal surgeon with Michigan Orthopedic Center. “This makes surgery more accurate for the patient, which leads to less long-term complications.”

The new navigation system not only makes surgery more precise for the patients, but it also makes surgery safer for the staff and exposes them to less radiation.

Dr. Dorenkamp said, “It allows us to do larger spinal fusions with less fluoroscopy, a type of x-ray imaging. This cuts down on radiation exposure for both staff and the patients.”

Along with the BrainLab navigation system, McLaren also purchased an OHX microscope that is used specifically for surgical spine cases.

“I use a microscope in about 50% of my cases,” said Dr. Dorenkamp. “This microscope is geared specifically for spinal surgery. This microscope has special lenses that allow the surgeon to navigate complex spinal structures with precision. We can see in fine detail small neurologic structures while safely passing our instruments underneath it.”

The microscope is equipped with a camera that projects what the surgeon is seeing onto high-definition screens throughout the operating room. This allows the entire surgical team to be in sync with the surgeon for every second of the surgery.

“The microscope allows us to make more efficient instrument passes and take better care of the patients,” said Dr. Dorenkamp. “It also improves medical education for staff and surgeons in training to see every move the surgeon is making.”

This state-of-the-art equipment places McLaren Greater Lansing at the forefront of spinal surgery in Central Michigan. Continued investment into the latest technologies allows McLaren Greater Lansing to continue to be a leader in orthopedics and spine care. 

To learn more about the orthopedic programs at McLaren Greater Lansing, click here.