The spine program at Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute (SOSI) delivers access to the highest possible level of spine care to northwest Colorado thanks to a comprehensive program featuring both non-operative and surgical care.
Spine surgeon Dr. Clint Devin, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, along with Dr. Alexis Tracy, a board-certified non-operative spine specialist, work together to provide patients in the region with world-class, total spine care. Jessica Nyquist, a physician assistant, works with Dr. Devin on the surgical side. The overarching goal of the spine program is to help patients return to their previous functional status and improve their quality of life.
With a philosophy to provide the least invasive treatment approach that allows patients to return to their favorite activities, Drs. Devin and Tracy always incorporate conservative, non-operative treatments — such as physical therapy, injections, yoga, and others — in cases where these techniques make sense.
The goal for spine care at SOSI is to provide personalized treatment, offering the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.
Minimally invasive whenever possible
Only about 10 percent of patients seen for spine complaints will benefit from surgery, which is why it’s important to have an extensive screening process with a multidisciplinary approach to pain and function.
“We live in a very healthy and active community and most people want to avoid surgery if possible,” she says. “There are cases when it becomes obvious that the patient needs more immediate surgery, and in these cases, there is no delay in getting the patient a surgical evaluation. We want to improve people’s function and motion and avoid surgery unless we can predict an excellent outcome.”
Dr. Tracy often sees patients initially for accurate diagnosis and conservative treatment options, essentially working as the triage physician for the overall spine program. She provides a full neurological and musculoskeletal examination as well as appropriate imaging such as MRI, which is now available on site at SOSI’s new clinic. Dr. Tracy may provide physical therapy or exercise prescriptions, spinal needle interventions or medication management.
On the surgical side, less invasive options include cervical laminoplasty, laminotomy, lumbar microdiscectomy, cervical-disc replacement, and lumbar-disc replacement. Many of these will be able to be done as outpatient procedures at SOSI’s new Steamboat Surgery Center.
“But there are certain scenarios we know that wouldn’t do as well with those approaches compared to a fusion,” Dr. Devin says. “The downside of spinal-fusion surgery is that it can potentially accelerate breakdown of discs above or below a fusion.
“Minimally invasive isn’t always the best approach. The No. 1 goal is to give the patient a good outcome,” he says. “When you’re looking at indicated spine surgery, the goal is to get pressure off the nerves or spinal cord and do it in the least invasive, most durable way.”
The Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute comprises a dedicated, local, and highly-trained staff of ten physicians and dozens of medical care and support staff, bringing world-class medicine to northwest Colorado, southern Wyoming, and the surrounding region. Alongside the team of specialists, SOSI also has a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist and a physiatrist who specializes in the evaluation of spinal and musculoskeletal disorders, non-operative spine care, including epidural injections, and EMG and global orthopaedic assessments.