Featured Article in Southwest Florida Health and Wellness Magazine
Small Incisions With Big Benefits
By Lisa Minic
The healthcare industry has recently witnessed the adoption of many new technologies that increase the efficiency of various medical treatments. Minimally invasive surgery is one of the most important developments among all such cutting-edge medical technologies. The increasing demand of specialized treatment has propelled an increase in patient preference for minimally invasive surgeries.
Minimally invasive surgery minimizes surgical incisions to reduce trauma to the body. This type of surgery is usually performed using thin-needles and an endoscope to visually guide the surgery. The advantage of minimally invasive surgery is to reduce postoperative pain and blood loss, speed recovery and lessen scarring.
Spine surgery is now one of the many surgeries being performed using minimally invasive techniques. In order to be considered a minimally invasive spine surgery, the procedure needs to minimize the trauma to the patient through smaller incisions and less muscle dissection.
Traditional open surgical procedures still currently account for a majority of spinal surgeries performed in this country today. When a surgeon performs an open procedure using outdated techniques, hospital stays can last up to a week. The recovery period with this type of procedure can last as long as a year leaving cut muscle ligaments and a large scar. Dr. Mario Pereira who utilizes minimally invasive surgical techniques can perform the same procedure as an outpatient or with minimal hospital stay, a few months recovery period, and very little scarring. He is currently the only surgeon in Charlotte County who can perform this type of procedure as an outpatient.
Advances in spinal fusion devices allows placement through several smaller incisions rather than the traditional large incision site used in open spinal fusion surgery. The theory is that the devices can be placed with minimal trauma to the muscle and tendons in the back. These devices allow for the stabilization of the vertebrae and the restoration of the correct anatomical alignment in the spine.
Patient education plays a vital role in the overall success of a surgical plan of treatment at the Southwest Florida Spine Institute. It is important that the healthcare team makes patients aware of the potential benefits and risks of a surgery. Knowing what is causing your pain is key to understanding what is required to fix it.
Aftercare can be just as important as the surgery itself. The risk of infections in post-surgical wounds is a great example of this; the size of the surgical wound and how it was closed can increase the chance of infection. Dr. Mario Pereira for instance, closes his surgical incision sites the same way a plastic surgeon would, greatly reducing infection rates. Home healthcare plays a critical role in reducing the chances of infection as well, by ensuring that daily dressing changes are done appropriately and that the wound is not exposed to potentially harmful bacteria.
Clinical outcomes are a tell tale sign of the quality of care a physician provides their patients. Recent developments in the healthcare industry are making it a requirement for physicians to track the effectiveness of the care they provide. Currently Dr. Mario Pereira is seeing a 45.75% decrease in overall disability by the end of the first post-operative year, as tracked by the Oswestry Disability Index.
Dr. Mario Pereira at the Southwest Florida Spine Institute is currently the leader in True Atraumatic Minimally Invasive Surgery of the Spine in Charlotte County. He is currently the only spine surgeon in Charlotte County area who is able to perform outpatient spine fusion procedures. Dr. Mario Pereira is currently affiliated with Charlotte Regional Medical, Fawcett Memorial Hospital and Murdock Ambulatory Surgical Center for surgical procedures.
Dr. Mario Pereira and staff are happy to announce that we are in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida as of October 1st, 2011!
I will be accepting all Blue Cross Blue Shield plans at my practice and I look forward to providing the highest quality of care to you.
If you have any questions please call (941) 258-3690 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you for your continued support!
Mario L. Pereira, MD
Featured article in the Charlotte Sun Newspaper July 11th, 2010
Charlotte Regional physician performs minimally invasive spine surgery
By Kimberly Jones
For years, Kim Stewart, a registered nurse at Charlotte Regional Medical Center, made frequent visits to a chiropractor due to neck troubles. Although she did not suffer from pain, the constant muscle spasms extending from shoulder to spine, stiff neck, and frequent headaches were enough to send her to a doctor in search of a cure.
“I sought out a specialist because I’d mainly visited walk-in clinics, and it was so impersonal. I wanted regular care from a physician”, explains Stewart.
Stewart made an appointment with Dr. Mario Pereira, M.D. of Southwest Florida Spine Institute, who specializes in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS). Working at Charlotte Regional, Stewart knew of Pereira’s first-rate reputation. “He is very professional, very thorough”, Stewart says.
What’s different about Pereira is that he places himself in the position of the patient. Specializing and highly trained in MIS, Pereira offers his patients less pain, shorter recovery time, smaller incision, reduced scarring and blood loss and preservation of normal tissue – all at a lower cost. MIS is not common practice, says Pereira, as only 20 percent of the market knows how to perform the technique and less in the Southwest Florida region.
After an initial exam and MRI, Stewart was found to have a ruptured ligament in her neck and herniated discs; she was in need of a complete discectomy of C3 and C4 (cervical vertebra in the neck) and artificial disc replacement. Need for a complete discectomy of C3 and C4 is not uncommon for a person their thirties or forties – and possibly fifties, says Pereira.
A discectomy is the complete or partial removal of the herniated disc. As the body ages, the spinal discs harden, flatten and become like “beef jerky”. Pereira adds that it has not been proven in scientific literature that rehydration therapy of discs is effective, thus the need for replacement.
Still, the diagnosis left Stewart surprised. She had not had any car accidents nor had she suffered from any falls or injuries since her last normal MRI about six years before.
The cause of the torn ligament was unknown to her unless it was a result of her job-related duties of lifting patients or pulling them in stretchers.
“It could have been any of those things.” Stewart concluded.
Pereira stresses that a decision for surgery should not be made until the problem has been identified and a plan is laid out. “The bottom line is this – when it comes to your back, you don’t go cheap.”
Diagnosed in June 2009, Stewart put off surgery for financial reasons. It wasn’t until six months later, when she was fully aware of the severe risks of waiting to undergo the surgery that she decided to contact Pereira and set a surgery date at Charlotte Regional.
Pereira helped her realize she was facing possible paralysis because she had a herniated disc that was pressing on her spinal cord. “He told me I could wake up one day and not be able to walk”, she says with a sober tone.
The cervical nerves control many bodily functions. C3 controls the diaphragm and C4 is responsible upper body muscles such as deltoids and biceps. The incision for the C3-C4 discectomy is less than an inch and the resulting scar is barely noticeable because it is within the natural folds of the neck, leaving all anatomy intact.
A typical candidate for this type of surgery is a young patient in their thirties through fifties without arthritis in the joints or spine.
Pereira hails from Trinidad and Tobago. He has practiced medicine for three years and studied at Tufts University School of Medicine, completed his internship and residency at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York and conducted his fellowship at the Texas Back Institute in Plano, Texas where he received specialized training in True Atraumatic Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.
He has giving numerous presentations and contributed to research studies and publications including co-authoring a chapter in the Lumbar Intervertebral Disc.
Almost six months post-op, Stewart is still raving about her surgery at Charlotte Regional and her experience with Pereira.
Stewart claims she no longer suffers from 95 percent of her muscle spasms. “The pain is nowhere it used to be”, she says with relief. “I used to suffer on a daily basis but not I am more comftorble.”
Southwest Florida Spine Institute is located at 3420 Tamiami Trail, Suite 1 Port Charlotte. With the assistance of his wife, Diane, RN, BSN, who is the practice administrator, Pereira continues to help improve the quality of life to his patients like Kim Stewart using cutting edge technology of minimally invasive spinal surgery.
June 10th, 2010:
Dr. Mario L. Pereira performs the first Cervical Fusion procedure done as an outpatient in Charlotte County at the Murdock Ambulatory Surgery Center.
April 30th 2010: Dr. Mario L. Pereira and the Southwest Florida Spine Institute were in the news again.
Fortunate to have outstanding surgeon
I would like to let my Port Charlotte neighbors know about an outstanding young surgeon we are privileged to have practicing here.
I am currently recovering at home from a four level cervical fusion surgery performed by Dr. Mario Pereira. He has been the most caring and competant doctor that I have encountered in many years. How many doctors would accept your call for help at 9:30pm on Saturday night? He and his staff go far beyond the standard. Dr. Pereira and his family are a fine addition to this community.
Dr. Pereira, his office administrator/wife, Diane and all of the staff at the Spine Institute have my heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a long and prosperous career in Charlotte County.
Febuary 2010: Dr. Mario L. Pereira has become a Florida Workers Compensation healthcare provider. The Southwest Florida Spine Institute is now accepting Florida Workers Compensation patients suffering from back injuries and neck injuries.
For more information on Florida Workers Compensation go to http://www.myfloridacfo.com/wc/