Khalid M Abbed, MD
Patients who needed spine surgery once had no choice but to undergo painful operations that required a week of hospitalization and six weeks of recovery. Now, minimally invasive surgery has drastically reduced the pain and recovery time of such procedures as discectomies, decompressions, and spinal fusions.
Khalid M. Abbed, MD, chief of spine surgery at the Yale Spine Institute, said that minimally invasive surgery requires a hospital stay of only two days and allows a return to work in two weeks. It provides the same long-term pain relief and patient satisfaction as open surgery, but with less injury to soft tissue.
Abbed regularly performs minimally invasive spine surgery, which involves dilating muscles rather than cutting through them to reach the spine. Using a small tube much like an endoscope, he can reach precise areas of the spine through small incisions, and repair problems microscopically, minimizing the soft tissue trauma of open surgery. The result is a shorter hospital stay, less pain medication, and a quicker return to normal activities.
Minimally invasive techniques are useful not only for degenerative disease, but also for spine tumors, according to Abbed. Patients with metastatic cancer to the spine may not have a long life expectancy and minimally invasive surgery allows them to avoid long hospital stays and lengthy recoveries.
“This is the wave of the future,” said Abbed, who is the principal investigator of a multicenter prospective clinical trial sponsored by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons to compare open spine fusions and minimally invasive spine fusions.
Name: Khalid M. Abbed, MD
Title:Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery; Chief, Spine Surgery, Yale Spine Institute; Director, Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Area of expertise: Neurosurgical and orthopaedic spine surgery with a special interest in minimally invasive spine surgery and spine tumor surgery
Place of birth: Danville, Ill
College: University of Illinois
Med School: University of Illinois
Training: Neurosurgery residency, Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital; neurosurgical and orthopaedic spine fellowship, Cleveland Clinic
Family: Wife; Sarah, attorney; sons Khalid Jr., 7; Laith, 5; daughter, Lailah, 3
What is most challenging to you in academic medicine?
Finding the time to do everything that needs to be done, including seeing patients, operating, conducting clinical trials, and teaching residents and medical students
What is most rewarding? The opportunity to do all of the above.
What do you like most about your practice? The people I work with and the patients. They make coming to work enjoyable.
Personal interests or pastimes: Spending time with family, reading, sports
Last book read: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln , by Doris Kearns Goodwin
What would you do to improve our clinical environment
if you had a magic wand? Increase efficiency and accessibility so that we could see more patients in a timely fashion, streamline their work-up, and minimize their wait time both for appointments and possible surgery. We need to be able to give patients not only the best care, but also the best service.