The City of Hattiesburg has Dr. David Lee, MD, and NFL great, Brett Favre, to thank for making the city one of the only seven cities in the country to have a revolutionary piece of medical technology. Doctors predict this breakthrough could change the lives of people with back problems.
The VMA test was introduced to WDAM on Friday, and it's a machine that provides spine surgeons with a test that is 79 percent more accurate than typical MRI machines. It also reduces cancer causing radiation exposure.
Like many Americans, former American Football League quarterback Brett Favre has friends and loved ones with back pain from sports related injuries.
"You don't realize how much you use your back on a day to day basis until it is injured," Favre said.
"From tying your shoes to getting out of bed, you don't realize how much your back is being exercised until you're in back pain, and this piece of technology is impressive. The medical care here in Hattiesburg is second to none."
The Vertebral Motion Analysis machine images the spine in motion. It helps surgeons pinpoint spinal irregularities more accurately. The VMA is different than typical spinal tests, because MRIS and CT scans act as photographs; whereas, the VMA acts as a live video.
Many past surgical decisions are based upon static photos, which oftentimes do not accurately reveal problem areas. Dr. David Lee, Spinal/Neurological surgeon, says this new machine has even driven him to diagnose patient issues differently than his original diagnoses, before surgical procedures.
"Sometimes it makes you alter the course of what you were going to do if you used an MRI or CT scan," Lee said.
The machine can be compared to a motion-graphic film. It captures millions of places along the spine as it moves, which creates the video.
"This is a truly novel machine," Lee said.
"Like something I've never seen before."
The machine is now FDA approved, and insurers are catching on to the benefits of the VMA. Providers are applying it to benefit programs, similar to standard X Ray procedures.