GREENEVILLE, TN – An estimated 44 million Americans – or 55 percent of those 50 and older – suffer from osteoporosis, a debilitating disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break.
Although often regarded as an “older person’s disease,” osteoporosis can strike at any age.
If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks – usually in the hip, spine or wrist.
A new surgery being offered at Takoma Adventist Hospital will help bring relief to those suffering the incapacitating effects of this silent disease.
“People may not know they even have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump or fall causes a fracture or a vertebra to collapse,” said Dr. Scott C. Dulebohn, a board-certified neurosurgeon, who has opened an office on the second floor of the new Takoma Medical Office Building at the corner of East Vann Road and Takoma Avenue.
Dulebohn (pronounced dool-uh-bon) said he plans to perform minimally invasive surgeries at Takoma, including a procedure called Kyphoplasty, which will dramatically improve the quality of life for those suffering from osteoporosis.
“This surgery has remarkable results,” said Dulebohn, who is nationally recognized as an expert in Kyphoplasty.
He has successfully performed nearly 300 surgeries, placing him in the top 10 percent of neurosurgeons in the entire country. “About 90 percent of those patients who were wheelchair-bound prior to the surgery are fully mobile in one week,” Dulebohn said.
Kyphoplasty can help osteoporosis suffers receive:
· Improved posture, with even some height restored
· Improved quality of life
· Pain reduction
· Less future incidents of fractures.
The procedure begins with a small incision, in which a thin needle about the size of a ball point pen is inserted. A special balloon is inserted through the needle into fractured area, such as the spine. Thick plastic is then inserted into the balloon, filling the space.
“It’s a brief procedure that lasts about an hour typically,” Dulebohn explained, noting that he prefers to perform Kyphoplasty with only local anesthesia. “Patients receive optimal results that way.”
Dulebohn said he believes in utilizing surgery as a last resort, however. “It’s hard to undo an operation, so it’s important to pick the least invasive procedure,” he noted. “Very often, I try something besides surgery first.”
He said his goal as a surgeon is to “help patients choose good solutions for their life.”
In addition to Kyphoplasty, Dulebohn can treat advanced pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
“I strive to help my patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery with the goal of providing the best possible outcome,” he explained.
Dulebohn, a Midwest native, joked that he moved here “to thaw.” He added that he loves East Tennessee’s moderate climate.
“Plus, this area is really growing,” Dulebohn said. “Duluth, Minn., where I came from, has contracted and actually lost 3,000 people.”
Dulebohn graduated with highest honors from the University of Missouri with a degree in economics.
He graduated from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1989, and performed his residency in neurosurgery at the University of Illinois, where he was chief resident from 1994-1995.
Dulebohn taught neurosurgery at the University of Nebraska and helped direct the neurosurgery pain program there for two years. He then practiced neurosurgery and taught at the University of Minnesota in Duluth, initiating a complex spine and pain program from 1997 to 2005.
He has completed many research projects in pain, spine and tumor treatment, adding that he plans to “develop these programs in the Tri-Cities area.”
Dulebohn is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. He is a member of the American Medical Association; the North American Spine Society; the American Association of Neurological Surgery; the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; the Joint Neurosurgical Society of Pain, Spine and Tumor; the Oregon Medical Association; the Minnesota Medical Association; and the International Spine Intervention Society.
Dulebohn lives in the Johnson City area with his wife, Heidi, and their dog, Beau. When not practicing medicine, he enjoys bicycling, kayaking and computers.
Appointments are by referral only. For more information on Dulebohn, please contact the Appalachian Neurosurgical Clinic at 975-2350.