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Top spine surgeon wants to ‘give back’

Suffering from back pain? Duane Pitt is someone you need to see.

The Bermudian has been recognised as one of the top spine surgeons in the US because of the work he does out of his Scottsdale, Arizona practice, Desert Institute for Spine Disorders.

A year-and-a-half ago he started the Bermuda Spine Center as a way of giving back to the local community.

His grandfather, David Armstrong Pitt, and his father, David Arthur Pitt, both hail from Warwick.

Dr Pitt was born on the Island 47 years ago but moved to the US shortly after.

“My father was raised in Bermuda and grew up there until he was 18 and then came to the US for education,” he said. “I would come at least once a year when I was a child.”

His trips became more frequent about a decade ago, when he began offering consultations to residents.

“My family’s been asking me to come back home for years,” he said. “When I heard that patients were not getting the service they needed and had to fly away ... I wanted to give back to my community, my roots.

“I think there’s a lot of things I can offer in Bermuda that would allow them to have a safe, surgical experience here without having to fly overseas.”

Dr Pitt is trained in minimally invasive spinal surgery for all types of spine disorders. He says it’s typical for 90 per cent of a population to suffer from back pain at some point in life.

His traditional and state-of-the-art techniques include artificial disc replacement, microdiscetomy, minimally invasive spinal fusions and thoroscopic scoliosis fusions.

Dr Pitt was named Arizona’s top spine surgeon by Phoenix magazine. He’s also been recognised as one of the top doctors in America by Castle Connolly, a company dedicated to helping people find the best healthcare in the US. Arizona State University Athletic Department, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s are among his more famous clients.

Patients often come complaining of “acute or chronic neck, back, arm or leg pain, scoliosis or other spine deformity or a herniated disc”, Dr Pitt said. Most are successfully treated using minimally invasive methods.

“I do spinal reconstructive surgery — both high and low-risk operations,” he said. “The demand in Bermuda is no different than any [other similarly-sized population]. What’s most common in Bermuda and also most common in any other population are herniated discs. People have difficulty standing and walking because of spinal stenosis, herniated discs.”

In his “spare” time, Dr Pitt is a flight surgeon for the Air National Guard, supporting combat search and rescue operations. The orthopaedic spine surgeon is also part of a non-profit charity he founded in 2010 to help impoverished people in the Dominican Republic get “the very best in surgical treatment of all spine disorders”.

According to Dr Pitt, International Surgical Foundation is the “collaboration of many dedicated professionals” who have witnessed the impact extreme poverty has had on the health of that community. Many have suffered from “major neurologic disorders which could have been prevented with proper clinical and/or surgical management”, he said.

Bermuda Spine Center is located at 75 Victoria Street. For more information visit northrockspine.com.

<p>A healthy spine</p>

A healthy spine is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Below, Dr Pitt’s top tips for keeping yours in shape:

1. Exercise. Regular, gentle exercise especially musculoskeletal exercise.

2. Stop smoking. People who smoke have increased risk of soft tissues which means healing is poor and bone building is poor. Getting rid of tobacco use helps

3. Lose weight. Populations are getting larger which puts unnecessary strain on the spine.