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    BAMC Interventional Radiology offers less invasive option for patients with disc degeneration

    BAMC Interventional Radiology offers less invasive option for patients with disc degeneration

    Photo By Jason W. Edwards | U.S. Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Matthew Taon, interventional radiologist, demonstrates a...... read more read more



    Story by Lori Newman  

    Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs   

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (March 9, 2023) -- Brooke Army Medical Center Interventional Radiology offers a new, less invasive option for some patients who have disc degeneration.

    “Interventional Radiology performs minimally invasive image guided procedures, also known as pinhole surgery,” explained Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Matthew Taon, interventional radiologist. “The technology we use for this procedure centers on a non-surgical, injectable allograft that uses allogeneic tissue and disc material to repair degenerative discs.”

    Army Sgt. 1st Class Mitchell Alwin, an X-ray technician assigned to the 264th Medical Battalion on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, was the first patient to receive the procedure at BAMC.

    Taon used tiny needles to get into the disc, as well as live X-ray (fluoroscopy) and 3-dimensional imaging (cone beam computed tomography) to visualize the entire process. This procedure is intended to rehydrate damaged/dehydrated intervertebral discs and can provide pain relief for months to years.

    Alwin was thankful that this new procedure was available to him, and that it provided him relief from his constant pain.

    “My pain was a constant 7 or 8,” Alwin said. “It affected everything daily no matter what I did – sitting or standing, I felt tingling and numbness down the legs. I couldn’t sleep, that’s really what made it worse.”

    He said after the procedure he experienced a little tenderness in the area for a couple of days, but he felt great afterward.

    “To get three- or four-months relief was way better than anything else,” Alwin said. “The lower risk was definitely worth the reward.”

    “Dr. Taon is phenomenal, not only is he knowledgeable, but he’s also great at what he does,” Alwin added. “When he told me it was a newer procedure, I said, ’Let’s do it. You have my full trust and confidence.’”

    Beneficiaries need a referral to Interventional Radiology from their primary care manager for an assessment to see if they are a good candidate for this procedure.

    “The ideal candidate for this procedure is someone whose disc is damaged but there is still some disc tissue that can be rehydrated,” Taon said. “If the disc is completely destroyed and there is nothing to rehydrate, it’s too late. We need to assess all possible avenues to see if this procedure is the correct one. Sometimes there are multiple issues causing the pain. If that’s the case, we attack it one step at a time.”

    BAMC Interventional Radiology manages disease processes and performs procedures from head to toe, including stroke thrombectomies to remove blood clots from the brain, oncologic tumor ablations and embolization, uterine fibroid embolization, arteriovenous malformation treatments, hemodialysis vascular access procedures, and interventional pain treatments.

    Interventional Radiology is also an integral component of ensuring BAMC’s Level I trauma accreditation.

    “We perform life-saving procedures such as hemorrhage-stopping embolization, revascularization, and pulmonary thrombectomy to remove clots from the lungs, to name a few,” Taon explained.

    “The minimally invasive innovations Maj. (Dr.) Matthew Taon and the BAMC Interventional Radiology team perform are just another example of the cutting-edge medical capabilities of the San Antonio Market,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Michael Wirt, Department of Radiology chief. “This intervention greatly contributes to returning our Soldiers and Airmen to the fight, improving our Service Member's readiness and ability to serve our Nation anytime and anywhere we are called.”



    Date Taken: 03.09.2023
    Date Posted: 03.09.2023 14:59
    Story ID: 440050

    Web Views: 1,398
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