HCN News & Notes

Mercy Medical Center Opens Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England

SPRINGFIELD — The Mercy Neurosurgical Institute announced the opening of the Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England at Mercy Medical Center, led by neurosurgeon Dr. Frederik Pennings.

Minimally invasive and microscopic spinal surgery to relieve neck and back pain means a faster recovery with less pain and equally good long-term results compared to traditional open surgery.

An internationally recognized expert in minimally invasive spine surgery, Pennings completed a fellowship in complex spine surgery at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., and received his Ph.D. in neurophysiology from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Prior to joining the medical staff at Mercy Medical Center, Pennings served as director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Program at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where he developed and introduced several minimally invasive techniques to reduce length of stay and reduce infection rates in patients requiring spinal surgery. He served on the educational board of the Society of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and is on the editorial board of several peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, he serves as faculty in many courses on minimally invasive spinal-surgery techniques.

“A brilliant surgeon with extensive experience in minimally invasive spine surgery, Dr. Pennings will undoubtedly provide our patients with world-class care at the Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England,” said Mark Fulco, president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates. “We are not only excited about this new program, we also have plans to add new technology that will further advance patient care.”

The Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England at Mercy Medical Center will provide minimally invasive procedures covering the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. Recently, Pennings introduced a new, safer approach for sacroiliac joint fusion. Other procedures include artificial disc replacement for neck herniations, mini-thoracotomy for thoracic disc herniations, and approaches to the lumbar spine through a small incision in the flank to treat degenerative scoliosis, spinal instability, or spinal stenosis.

“I’m excited to provide patients in the local community with access to the most cutting-edge, minimally invasive spine-surgery options available,” Pennings said. “These advancements benefit patients in many ways, including less risk of infection and muscle damage, a faster recovery, a typically shorter hospital stay, and minimal scarring.”

Treatment at the Minimally Invasive Spine Center of New England is the latest addition to the already-robust list of services available to neurosurgery patients at Mercy Medical Center. Mercy’s neurosurgical specialists have the experience, expertise, and resources to treat a wide range of brain and spinal conditions, including brain tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, movement disorders, traumatic brain injury, compression fractures, spinal stenosis, and infection.