November 9, 2017
Award Winning Research
Dr. Kern Singh, an orthopedic spine surgeon and Co-Director of the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, was recognized by the Cervical Spine Research Society for his paper entitled “The Impact Of Local Steroid Application On Dysphagia Following An Anterior Cervical Discectomy And Fusion: Preliminary Results Of A Prospectively, Randomized, Single Blind Trial.” The paper was selected as the 2nd Place Clinical Research Award Paper by the Cervical Spine Research Society’s Awards Committee.
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) procedures can be utilized in the treatment of degenerative conditions affecting the cervical spine. This procedure involves removal of affected intervertebral disc(s) and fusion of the adjacent vertebrae. A common complaint following ACDF is difficulty swallowing due to swelling, which usually resolves without further intervention. Previous studies have suggested that injecting steroid at the surgical site during the operation may decrease this swelling, and therefore prevent swallowing difficulties.
To investigate this further, Dr. Singh performed a randomized, controlled trial to determine the effect of local steroid (depomedrol) injection on swallowing after ACDF procedures. This clinical trial randomized patients to receive systemic (IV, intravenous) steroids with or without local steroids while in the operating room. After surgery, swallowing function was assessed up to 3 months after surgery. Patients that received local steroid demonstrated similar swallowing function after surgery as compared to patients that did not receive local steroid. This study concluded that use of local steroid is not effective in reducing swallowing difficulty following ACDF.
"My research group received the 2nd Place Clinical Research Award Paper, for our investigation into use of local steroid injection as a method reduce the incidence of swallowing difficulty following ACDF," explained Dr. Singh. "We are honored to have received the award, and hope to continue to perform valuable and clinically influential research in the future.”
A Leader in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Dr. Singh is a Professor at Rush University Medical Center and has an international reputation in the area of minimally invasive spinal surgery. He frequently teaches minimally invasive techniques to neurosurgeons and spinal surgeons from around the world. Dr. Singh's clinical interests include the minimally invasive treatment of complex degenerative disorders of the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. Dr. Singh also specializes in minimally invasive treatment of spinal tumors and adult spinal deformities.