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Tampa General Hospital and USF Health Perform First NADIA® Surgery in the U.S. for Sacroiliac Joint Disease

Published: Nov 10, 2021

By Tampa General Hospital

The first NADIA® NeuroSafe® posterior bridging surgery in the United States was successfully performed by Tampa General Hospital neurosurgeon Dr. Thomas B. Freeman last winter.

A breakthrough advancement designed to treat painful SI joint disease, the procedure received FDA approval in August of 2020. This milestone represents another step towards Tampa General’s vision of becoming the safest and most innovative academic health system in America.

The patient had lost hope for any relief from the excruciating daily pain that no other physician was able to diagnose or adequately address. He had exhausted all of his resources trying to find a cure before coming to TGH.

“The surgery is giving me my life back and for a man to just lose everything about himself, knowing that I’ll have all of that back now is a dream,” said the patient.

According to Dr. Freeman, who also serves as Professor of Neurosurgery and as the Medical Director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at USF Health, "many patients feel immediate relief of these painful symptoms in the recovery room, with continued benefits as the incisional pain resolves over the next six to 12 weeks." He added, "Most of my patients have had severe SI joint pain for between two and 32 years due to the lack of diagnostic methods, lack of adequate therapies in the past, or due to misunderstanding of SI joint pain. Needless to say, after the procedure, they are among my most grateful patients."

Dr. Freeman's expertise is also demonstrated by serving as the immediate past President of the Sacroiliac Medical Expert Group (SIMEG), based in Europe. SIMEG is the leading international society dedicated to the evaluation and surgical treatment of disorders of the sacroiliac joint.

The NADIA® procedure, or Neurovascular Anticipating Distraction Interference Arthrodesis surgical system, uses a posterior bridging approach that only takes 90 minutes, and can be performed through a small incision in the lower back with minimal blood loss. Surface treatments are added to the implant, which encourages faster and more complete bone ingrowth for a quicker and more reliable recovery.

This safe technique eliminates neurovascular risks commonly associated with older laterally based techniques that are near critical neurovascular structures. This surgery goes around rather than through muscle, eliminating a common source of post-operative pain. At Tampa General Hospital, this innovative procedure is performed with computerized navigation techniques rather than X-rays alone, allowing doctors to be even more accurate and safe.