Spinal Disc Surgery Nightmare: Florida Doctor Performs Surgery On Wrong Part of Patient’s Spine

In yet another episode illustrating the problems surrounding spinal disc surgery, Dr. James Billys, a spine surgeon located in Brooksville, Florida, performed surgery on a patient’s neck and back. The problem? The patient only required surgery on her neck area. First reported in the Miami Herald, we’re taking a look at this incident of wrong-site spinal disc surgery.

Dr. Billys’ Wrong Site Spinal Disc Surgery

According to the Department of Health’s administrative complaint regarding this spinal disc surgery, the procedure was meant to be a total disc arthroplasty. Total disc arthroplasty is a spinal disc surgery in which a compromised spinal disc is completely removed and replaced with a specially designed implant made of polyethylene and metal. This is also referred to as total disc replacement or artificial disc replacement.

This surgery should have been performed on the C5-6 and C6-7 vertebrae in the patient’s cervical spine, but Dr. Billys performed the surgery on the C6-7 and C7-T1 vertebrae. 

The spine is made up of 33 bones known as vertebrae. These 33 vertebrae, not including the tailbone, are divided into four sections: cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae, lumbar vertebrae, and sacral vertebrae. The cervical vertebrae, located in the neck are C1-C7. The upper back is made up of the thoracic vertebrae, T1-T12. This is followed by the lower back, or lumbar vertebrae, L1-L5. Finally, there are the sacral vertebrae, S1-S5, which are located in the pelvis.

What happened in this situation of wrong-site spinal disc surgery is that Dr. Billys mistakenly operated on the patient’s neck and upper back, replacing a spinal disc that had no need to be replaced. While it’s not clear how this mistake impacted the patient, incorrect surgeries are never a positive experience.

spinal disc surgery

The Consequences

According to the Florida Board of Medicine, Dr. James Billys will be given a letter of concern and be required to pay a $3,000 fine. In addition to this, Dr. Billys will have to participate in a continuing medical education course focused on risk management and give a one-hour lecture on the topic of wrong-site surgery at Brand Regional Hospital. This is the hospital where he holds privileges. 

Dr. Pauza’s Discseel® Procedure

Remember, spinal disc surgery has many risks associated with it, ranging from infection to situations like wrong-site surgery. The decision to undergo surgery should always be taken seriously and you should always consider all your options, including getting supplemental opinions. 

Of course, you also have the option of a procedure that is non-surgical, minimally invasive, and known to provide lasting pain relief. The Discseel® Procedure may be a solution for back or neck pain caused by torn or damaged spinal discs, also known as annular tears. It’s designed to treat annular tears, by sealing torn spinal discs and encouraging your spinal discs to grow new tissue, completing the healing process.

If you’re ready to stop living with back or neck pain, apply for the Discseel® Procedure today and find out if you’re a candidate!

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