Summerville, SC — Summerville Medical Center has launched a minimally invasive spine surgery program designed to provide state-of-the-art care for the Lowcountry community. Fellowship-trained spine surgeons Chris Battista, MD and Ben Schell, MD kicked off the program by performing the hospital’s first spine surgeries in April.

“I am honored to join the outstanding surgical team at Summerville Medical Center,” commented Dr. Battista. “Our goal every day is to change the lives of patients so they can get back to playing with their kids and grandkids, back to their favorite hobbies, and back to their active life.”

For Lowcountry native and high school basketball coach Henry Stewart, the promise of a quick recovery and return to his love of playing sports was what drew him to this procedure. “I am typically very active but for the past several months, I haven’t even been able to stand for an entire basketball practice. I am too young to have long-term pain, so having the surgery and being able to resume normal activities within weeks was huge for me.”

Stewart started having back pain and burning sensations in his legs in December 2020. After months of physical therapy, injections and chiropractic adjustments, he took the next step to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schell. In April Dr. Schell performed minimally invasive lumbar decompression surgery on Stewart, the first spine surgery for Summerville Medical Center. Dr. Battista performed the hospital’s second lumbar decompression surgery the next day.

Stewart’s surgery was performed through an 18mm, or about an inch, sized incision in his back to remove a degenerative disc in his lower spine that was pressing on a nerve. “This minimally invasive approach causes less disruption in back muscles and a smaller surgery scar,” said Dr. Schell, “which means patients have a much faster recovery and return to their normal activities.”

For Moncks Corner resident Krystal Smith, her spine surgery with Dr. Battista was life-changing. After experiencing lower back pain, spasms, and numbness for weeks, Dr. Battista performed lumbar decompression surgery on Smith to resolve several pinched nerves in her spine. “I was anxious and scared, but because of my doctor, nurses and even my anesthesiologist explaining every aspect of my surgery, I was able to pull through and complete my procedure. I honestly felt spoiled by all the care and attention by the spine team at Summerville Medical center. I felt special and that’s the way you should feel when your life is in someone else’s hands. I am able to live again without pain!”

“Offering this service close to home is critically important for the community we serve,” commented Kate Nixon, Director of Surgical Services at Summerville Medical Center. “I am incredibly excited for our team to be able to provide minimally invasive spine procedures that are life-changing and for many, offer immediate results. No longer are patients bed-ridden for weeks or months. Our patients are in the wonderful position of quickly feeling better and ready to embrace life again.”

The program performs procedures including anterior cervical fusion, total disc replacement, lumbar microdiscectomy, laminectomy, Kyphoplasty, cervical fusion, lumbar fusion, and robotic spine surgery, and more. Learn more about Trident Health System.