Jefferson Advanced Spine Center

Back to forefront, and everywhere in between

Methodist Hospital has your back — literally — with the addition of the Jefferson Advanced Spine Center. Patients — locally, regionally and, soon, nationally — coming to Jefferson’s newest Center of Excellence, located on the Methodist campus, to receive state-of-the art care for spinal conditions and a concierge patient experience like no other.

Human spineIt is these exact reasons why it received the full support of the Methodist Hospital Foundation’s spring fashion fundraiser on March 12, 2017.

The Jefferson Advanced Spine Center joins the prestigious Shoulder and Elbow Center and Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University and Methodist hospitals in its combination of cutting-edge technology, world-renowned physicians, nurses with highly specialized training and an unrivaled focus on the patient experience to create a unique level of care for those with spinal conditions. This new Center of Excellence includes specialists from Jefferson’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, staffed by Rothman Institute at Jefferson, and Jefferson’s Department of Neurological Surgery, whose members make up the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience.

“We are different from other programs,” Jim Robinson, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Methodist Hospital, Jefferson Health, and President of the Methodist Hospital Foundation, said. “The Jefferson Advanced Spine Center is a coordinated effort with Jefferson Health and the Rothman Institute to create a comprehensive program, starting locally and regionally from New York to Washington, D.C., where people can look to and say, ‘This is where I want to go — where I need to go.’”

The Foundation sees what the hospital’s newest addition will mean to those in pain and their families. It is why the 2017 Designer Fashion Showcase Fashion Show & Trunk Sale, at the Crystal Tea Room, earmarked the funds it raised for it.

Focus on the Future

Patients will choose to come to this new Methodist Hospital spot for all sorts of reasons, but every one of them will find an experience like no other in health care awaiting them. “The focus is on futuristic procedures – minimally invasive with the smallest incision possible, robotic advanced imaging guidance, state-of-the-art anesthesia,” Rothman Institute President Dr. Alexander R. Vaccaro, who is also the Richard H. Rothman Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University, said. “We put it all together to give our patients something truly unique.”

Its nationally renowned neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons often set the standard, if not the blueprint, in terms of technique for fellow surgeons across the country. Their approach is the key to a faster recovery, less pain, and ultimately, long-term functionality for their patients. “A lot of what we are doing is trying, striving, to be better. How can we do things better for the patient? How can we do it for more patients, frankly, so people can come in and get back on their feet?” Dr. James S. Harrop, Professor of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgery at the Vickie and Jack Farber Institute at Jefferson, said. “The Jefferson Advanced Spine Center takes the patient experience and makes it more efficient and updated, including operating rooms that are dedicated to procedures and surgeries for the spine.”

Comfort is Critical

John Renzi, RN, Nurse Manager, B3 Surgery Unit with Kelsey Hanrahan, BSN, RN

Another differentiating factor is the concierge-like attention a patient receives, including free valet service and an Ambassador that greets, escorts and introduces a patient to his or her care team. “The great personalities and expertise of the nursing staff make for a great healing environment. It is also the hotel-like look of the rooms and the high-end technology that make for an exceptional experience during a difficult time,” said John Renzi, Nurse Manager of the B3 Surgical Unit at Methodist Hospital, Jefferson Health, the unit where the Jefferson Advanced Spine Center is located.

Surgeries and procedures, the focus of which will be outpatient, and observation and recovery are all on the same floor. Each private room is equipped with an e-whiteboard connected to the nurses’ station that lets patients know every detail about their stay and care team. There will also be options provided for nonsurgical candidates.

“This, to me, shows Jefferson and Methodist are committed to spinal care,” Dr. Harrop said. “They are patient advocates, and they are giving us the tools we need to help our patients. Jefferson and Methodist will continue to be this way.”

A Fine Start

Dr. Vaccaro performed the inaugural procedures at the Jefferson Advanced Spine Center, which included a scoliosis surgery. “I was able to get the surgery started by about 6:15. We have such a crack team, state-of-the-art imaging, an incredible flow – we were done in about 90 minutes for a procedure that normally takes four to six hours,” he said.

Months before that day, he was the surgeon that corrected Brianna Dougherty’s sudden shift in her spinal curve when she was 21. Dougherty was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 8, so growing up with back pain was a way of life. “I never realized other people didn’t have back pain. I didn’t realize people didn’t have pain after sitting 10 minutes in a car,” the college student said months after her January 2016 surgery.

Learn more: Patient Profile of Brianna Dougherty

As she recovers, Dougherty is looking forward to the little things many without back pain take for granted: sitting in a car for a long ride to the beach, riding a rollercoaster and going out with her friends.

Faces of the fundraiser: Spine patient, Brianna Dougherty and nurse, John Renzi

Seeing the before and after of back pain and spinal procedures, Dougherty and Renzi were both involved in the 2017 fashion show as the “faces” of its media campaign. Drs. Harrop and Vaccaro both walked the runway during the fashion show, too, along with numerous other Methodist and Jefferson staff, family and friends.

The Foundation’s support and the approach of the Jefferson Advanced Spine Center will make a difference in so many lives near and far, something Robinson and Dr. Vaccaro took to heart when the idea of it and it coming to Methodist Hospital began to take shape. “We want to provide a worry-free experience. The Jefferson Advanced Spine Center is just taking it to another level,” Robinson said. 

Dr. Vaccaro agreed: “When Methodist Hospital was first mentioned as the location, I said, ‘they can handle it. They can increase the diversity of our procedures.’ With it, we are able to increase the number of people we can help in a place that is easily accessible.

“There is a very experienced staff inside Methodist Hospital, and when you go outside, there is South Philadelphia — a great place to spend time.”