Rockford, IL,
15:33 PM

Study Helps Reduce Pain Following Spinal Surgery

Dr. Michael Roh, OSF HealthCare team up on year-long study

A study conducted at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, Illinois, showed the use of a new, local anesthetic significantly reduces pain and promotes faster recovery for patients following lumbar spinal fusion surgery.

The lead researcher is Dr. Michael Roh, co-founder of Rockford Spine Center, who has special expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Roh teamed up with the OSF Saint Anthony pharmacy department to conduct the year-long study, which was published in a recent issue of Clinical Spine Surgery, a peer-reviewed medical journal that covers new clinical research and surgical techniques for practicing spine surgeons.

“Historically, lumbar spinal fusion has been associated with considerable postoperative pain, which can have a major impact on the recovery process and even patient satisfaction,” says Dr. Roh. "In our study, we injected a long-acting local anesthetic (liposomal bupivacaine) directly into the lumbar tissues in an effort to reduce surgical pain. The study analyzed the potential impact of liposomal bupivacaine on postoperative opioid requirements, duration of hospital stay and potential cost savings.”

The study examined two patient groups of 105 study patients each. The first group received liposomal bupivacaine and the second group did not. The study showed that the liposomal bupivacaine group experienced significantly lower opioid usage during the postoperative period, was able to walk and move about sooner, and was discharged home nearly a full day sooner, which led to an overall cost savings for the patient.

“Not only are our patients so much more comfortable after surgery, often they will even comment on how much less painful their surgery was compared to any previous procedures,” said Dr. Roh. “The look of pleasant surprise on their faces is priceless.”

Assisting Dr. Roh in the research from OSF Saint Anthony were Kyle Shick, PharmD; Daniel Knolhoff, PharmD; Oksana Kucher, PharmD; Jeremy McGarvey, MS; and Susan Peterson, MS. From OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center.

“OSF HealthCare is proud to partner with Dr. Roh on this exciting breakthrough,” said Daniel Knolhoff, Pharmacy Operations Manager, OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. “We always look for the opportunity to collaborate when given the chance. This study is the result of a lot of hard work and commitment from Dr. Roh and our pharmacy team to improve patient care. The greatest satisfaction is the benefits that patients will receive from this partnership.”

Dr. Roh co-founded the Rockford Spine Center in 2002. He is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery and is a member of the Scoliosis Research Society.


About OSF HealthCare:

OSF HealthCare is an integrated health system owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. OSF HealthCare employs more than 23,600 Mission Partners (employees) in 147 locations, including 14 hospitals – 10 acute care, four critical access – and two colleges of nursing. Its physician network employs more than 1,500 primary care, specialist physicians, and advanced practice providers. For more information, visit