Munich doctor helps ski star get back on the slopes

Munich doctor helps ski star get back on the slopes

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The popular English freeskier Th. S. took a trip to Munich last week. The reason for this was not a short break or a performance-show, but a disc surgery at one of the world's leading spine surgeons in endoscopic surgical techniques - Dr. Michael Schubert from the Munich Apex Spine Center.

The diagnosis of a "large lumbar disc prolapse" is twice as bad for a professional athlete like Th.S. (39): not only activities in private life, but also his professional duties can be significantly affected.

The internationally acclaimed instructor and one of the best professional off-piste skiers traveled to Munich to the Apex Spine Center the day before his birthday, to go under the knife of Dr. Michael Schubert. The Munich doctor successfully removed endoscopically the slipped disc from the spinal canal of the ski star under local anesthesia and concomitant sedation. After only one night hospital stay, Smith could return home on his birthday. For two weeks, the professional athlete will have to carry a supportive brace, within six weeks he will be able to race down the slopes again.

Th. S. confided his health to the experienced hands of Dr. Schubert, who carries out the gentlest disc surgery in the world at the Munich Apex Spine Center. The intervention can be done without general anesthesia. "Thanks to this unique surgical method, a herniated disc in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine can be treated as gently and at such a low risk as never before," says spine surgeon Dr. Michael Schubert. Instead of an open procedure through a five-to eight-inch long cut, for the new procedure only a very small incision for a 2.5 mm working channel will do. The slipped disc material is removed within 30 to 45 minutes with minute instruments. The tools that are necessary for this kind of intervention have been developed by the spine specialist himself.

Th. S. is not the first professional athlete who was treated by Dr. Schubert in this way. The German rowing world champion Matthias Schömann-Finck suffered from a severe lumbar herniated disc in 2010. All conservative treatments failed, a rehab did not help – he found relief only when he lay on the operating table of Dr. Schubert. How fit he is again, became obvious when the athlete together with his teammates made it up to the World Cup semifinals in the coxless four this year in Bled, Slovenia.

Dr. Schubert has carried out this minimally invasive surgery successfully in more than 5.000 patients. As complicated postsurgical care, extended hospital stays and long recovery times can be avoided with this method, the overall treatment costs are also much lower than for conventional disc surgery.

Franziska Kremtz

Photo: Th.S. (left) was able to leave the Munich APEX SPINE Center already one day after his disc surgery by Dr. Michael Schubert (right). (Source: Th.S., Apex Spine Center)