First Endoscopic Spine Surgery in New Jersey Offers Patients Faster Recovery

Jersey City Medical Center. Stock photo of female clinician showing spinal xray to male patient.

Less pain and faster recovery times are a welcome new possibility for some New Jersey patients facing spinal surgery.

John Shin, M.D., an orthopedic spine surgeon with RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group, recently performed the state’s first unilateral biportal endoscopic (UBE) spine surgery at Jersey City Medical Center.

The UBE procedure offers new possibilities for adult patients suffering from degenerative spinal conditions, employing a high-definition endoscope, which provides a clear, magnified view of the spine and neural elements.

This method of endoscopic spine surgery requires only small incisions and greatly reduces trauma to the soft tissues of the back, including muscles and ligaments, resulting in reduced blood loss and a lower risk of infection.

The procedure was introduced in the United States in 2019 but surgeons did not start using on the East Coast until 2022. Dr. Shin’s fluency in Korean enabled him to receive additional training in South Korea from spine surgeons who are global leaders in using this technique.

Dr. Shin calls the technique “a new option for more frail patients who may not be ideal candidates for traditional open spine surgery, helping relieve their pain, regain their mobility and improve their quality of life.”