Norton Leatherman Spine welcomes new surgeon and new procedures

Norton Leatherman Spine welcomes new surgeon and new procedures

Joseph L. Laratta, M.D. is the newest surgeon on staff with Norton Leatherman Spine. He brings his knowledge from three dedicated spine fellowships and experience with a new minimally invasive technique for lumbar interbody fusion called eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF). XLIF surgery is performed with the patient in a lateral position. A 3-centimeter incision on the patient’s flank allows access to the spine.

“Remarkably, there is no muscle dissected, denervated or cut in this procedure — we only dilate through the abdominal wall musculature,” Dr. Laratta said. “This allows for improved cosmesis, less pain and a more rapid recovery for our patients.”

With the XLIF procedure, more than 90 percent of patients are discharged the day following surgery. Dr. Laratta has helped advance this procedure even further with the addition of autologous stem cells.

“We harvest cells from the patient while they are asleep by percutaneously aspirating their bone marrow and concentrating the mesenchymal stem cells,” Dr. Laratta said. “With this significant improvement to the procedure, over 97 percent of patients obtain solid fusion.”

No other spine surgeons or neurosurgeons in Kentucky are performing the XLIF procedure with autologous stem cells.

In addition to being on the cutting edge in minimally invasive surgery and stem cell technology, Dr. Laratta has a significant interest in vertebral compression fractures in the elderly population.

“When left untreated, these largely ignored fractures are associated with a three-year mortality rate of 50 percent.  This is comparable to end-stage renal disease and breast cancer,” Dr. Laratta said.  “With minimally invasive treatment, mortality rates improve by 20 percent at three years.”

Dr. Laratta looks forward to forming a comprehensive and multispecialty treatment for compression fractures to decrease morbidity and mortality in this patient population.

Refer a patient

To refer a patient to Dr. Laratta or any Norton Leatherman Spine provider, click here for the online referral form or call (502) 629-1234, option 3.