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Douglas physician creates revolutionary spinal alignment system


Hewatt McGraw (Mac) Sims, MD Contributed photo Hewatt McGraw (Mac) Sims, MD

Patients facing surgery for spondylolisthesis, a spinal condition in which one bone in the back slides forward over the bone below it, now have a new option for effective treatment. Thanks to the innovative work of Hewatt McGraw (Mac) Sims, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Coffee Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Douglas, GA, the Syzygy™ Stabilization System is not only available to patients at CRMC but will soon be available world-wide.

“My goal is to keep up with the latest technology so that we can offer our patients the most updated, clinically proven care,” said Dr. Sims. “Syzygy will enable surgeons to achieve the proper mechanical alignment of the spine with less invasive surgery and reduced post-operative pain.”

In astronomy, “syzygy” is the alignment of three celestial objects such as the sun, earth, and moon or a planet. The name Syzygy was selected because it reflects the surgeons’ ability to align three vertebral components of the spine.

A screw and rod system, Syzygy aligns an unstable spine thus reducing low back pain, leg pain, and other symptoms such as numbness or weakness. Using this new technology the surgeon can pull the bone back into its proper position. Syzygy is patented and different than any other product or technique currently available.

“Because of the expertise and forward-thinking of physicians like Dr. Sims, our patients have available to them not only new technology but improved outcomes,” said Vicki Lewis, CEO of CRMC. “Innovations like Syzygy help bring ‘big city’ health care close to home for our patients at CRMC.”

In partnership with Amendia, Dr. Sims has been working to perfect this system for seven years. In June 2016, the development of this patented invention was completed and, now with FDA approval, it will be released for use in the international spinal surgery market later this year.  It is scheduled for a formal and official launch to the United States in October in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Over the past seven years, I have been developing this unique technique for use in the surgical treatment of spondylolisthesis.” said Dr. Sims. “Syzygy is designed to help surgeons consistently and accurately improve surgical outcomes.”

Spondylolisthesis most often occurs in the lower or “lumbar” spine.  When nerve roots are squeezed, patients can experience back pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs. In rare, more serious cases, it can also impact bladder or bowel control.

If you have been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis or are experiencing similar back pain or leg numbness/weakness, talk with your doctor and discuss a referral to Dr. Sims’ orthopedic practice for further evaluation.

For more information, contact Optim Orthopedics at 229-387-8061.

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