A resource for spine care for residents of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Washington State

Gus Varnavas, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgery and neurosurgery. He is part of the Neuroscience and Spine Institute at Community Hospital of Anaconda in Anaconda, Montana. Dr. Varnavas has expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery and arthroplasty, which includes artificial disc replacement. Accordingly, Dr. Varnavas is referred spine surgery patients from across Montana, Idaho, Washington State and Wyoming. Dr. Varnavas now has an active spine and neurosurgery practice based in Anaconda, Montana. Dr. Varnavas emphasizes a broad spectrum of treatment options for the person with back pain or neck pain, including non-surgical options like spinal injections and spine-specialized therapy in advance of spine surgery. If spine surgery is necessary, Dr. Varnavas is able to provide minimally invasive spine surgery to reduce the length of the incision and speed return to activity with a less painful recovery.

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Dr. Varnavas emphasizes a broad spectrum of treatment options for the person with back pain or neck pain, including non-surgical options like spinal injections and spine-specialized therapy in advance of spine surgery. If spine surgery is necessary, Dr. Varnavas is able to provide minimally invasive spine surgery to reduce the length of the incision and speed return to activity with a less painful recovery.

In addition to complex revision surgery, Dr. Varnavas also specializes in the treatment of scoliosis, including the problem of “flatback syndrome” which is the byproduct of early generation spine instrumentation like Harrington Rods. Harrington rods were used decades ago to correct scoliosis. However, these rods removed the natural curve needed for a healthy spine.

Under modern scoliosis surgery, new instrumentation corrects the scoliotic curve by untwisted the spine for a more natural correction which in turn prevents more serious spinal problems from developing.

Some of the symptoms include having trouble maintaining a proper posture, low back pain and thigh pain. Since the person has trouble maintaining proper alignment, the symptoms might increase throughout the day due to fatigue. Patients might also have upper back and neck pain due to constantly trying to realign themselves. These symptoms can often develop to be very painful and leads some patients to having to rely on painkillers, which in turn have complications to internal organs.

Consequently many patients with Harrington Rods require replacement of this older instrumentation with more modern options that prevent future complications.  

Gus Varnavas, MD is affiliated with spine-trained therapists who have advanced training in back pain and neck pain. Our goal is to emphasize non-surgical treatment options as well as spine surgery capabilities tdr gus varnavas fellowship trained in spine spine center for back pain and neck pain relief - nonsurgical spine care and spine surgery, Montana spine surgeon, Gus Varnavas MD, spine surgeon second opinion Montana, spine surgeon second opinion Anaconda, second opinion for spine surgery Montana, spine neurosurgeons Montana, Minimally invasive spine surgery Montana, laser spine surgery Montana, herniated disc treatment Montana, artificial disc replacement Montana, treatment for a herniated disc Montana, home remedies for back pain Montana, home remedy for back pain Montanao help the back or neck pain sufferer avoid the hassle and inconvenience of multiple referrals around town, delayed care, or fragmented and biased treatments.

Spine surgery may be unavoidable based on damage to discs and vertebrae which in turn cause certain symptoms. This may occur because symptoms of radiating pain have not responded to non-surgical treatment options like injection therapy or customized spine physical therapy. In other cases, some symptoms like weakness or numbness in a leg or hand, or loss of control of bowel or bladder, represent emergency symptoms where back or neck surgery must be done quickly to prevent permanent paralysis of the nerves that relate to these muscles or extremities.

He works closely with chiropractic physicians across Montana, Idaho, Washington State and Wyoming who refer him complex spine patient.

Our philosophy of spine care is to emphasize non-surgical treatment options as well as our spine surgery capabilities to help the back or neck pain sufferer avoid the hassle and inconvenience of multiple referrals around town, delayed care, or fragmented and biased treatments.

When spine surgery is necessary

If your back or neck problem requires surgery, Dr. Varnavas is a fellowship-trained spine neurosurgeon who already is referred some of the most complex surgical cases across Central Montana. These cases include herniated discs, spinal fractures, stenosis, degenerative disc disease and spinal tumor. Over the course of his career, Dr. Varnavas has performed several thousand successful spine surgeries.

The overall goal of spine surgery is to perform the least invasive and least aggressive option to relieve symptoms. While small incisions and minimally invasive spine surgery is typically favored to speed return to activity, some complex spine problems can involve multiple levels which can require a larger incision to allow for appropriate instrumentation and, if necessary, fusions.

Pain relief through a focus on function

Pain is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. Either the back is too weak, too inflexible, something lifted was too heavy or the wrong body mechanics were used. And, unfortunately, those doctors who focus exclusively on pain symptoms often recommend a course of treatment that is the exact opposite of what the individual needs to recover from the back problem.

Years ago, for example, doctors treated back pain with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask the discomfort. It was found, however, that this type of treatment was actually damaging to the back, because it caused muscles in the back to get weaker, in turn, causing more strain and pain. Patients became more dependent on drugs and grew more inactive and disabled.

In fact, pain relief actually can come through movement. Low-impact sports like walking and swimming are the best way to make the back feel better and stronger.


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Need an Appointment?

Gus Varnavas, MD at Community Hospital of Anaconda specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain and strives to help people return to activity. Request an appointment with Dr. Varnavas in his office in Anaconda, MT.