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Find out who’s behind the latest innovation in artificial disc technology and how we’re helping to change the way back pain is treated, one patient at a time.
Dr. Scott Hodges, Dr. Craig Humphreys, and Dr. Marc Peterman are the original inventors of the BalancedBack® technique and associated instrumentation. The three met at Medtronic in the early 2000s, where they developed the core IP portfolio and concept. Later, they took the technology private with Medtronic’s support, forming International Surgical SEZC, a Cayman company dedicated to bringing Total Lumbar Arthroplasty to the world market. All three are recognized innovators in the spine care space, with particular contribution in the area of posterior lumbar instrumentation. Drs. Humphreys and Hodges were early innovators of the TLIF procedure, developing J&J’s DEVEX cage and other early concepts. Dr. Peterman developed many successful products including Medtronic’s CAPSTONE, the most widely-used fusion cage in the world.
Despite their experience with fusion instrumentation for lumbar pathologies, the team remained dissatisfied with the clinical outcomes of fusion surgery. They believe motion-sparing (arthroplasty) stabilization of the lower back is the solution, and have made it their personal mission to make this technology available to millions of people everywhere, in every market.
As a company, our goals are twofold: to increase awareness of spinal fusion outcomes and to provide education around an alternate treatment path. The clinical literature is increasingly clear that fusion should be a last resort for treating back and leg pain, rather than a the commonly-recommended procedure we see today. Regardless of the treatment alternative chosen by patients, we believe there is great value in providing education about spinal fusion, surgical and non-surgical alternatives to fusion, and our own method of surgical intervention.
All of our content is entirely original, and is produced by spine surgeons Drs. Scott Hodges and Craig Humphreys, chiropractor/nurse practitioner Dr. Don Duff, and other medical professionals. Drs. Hodges and Humphreys are board-certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeons who have each been performing surgeries in the U.S. for more than 25 years. The information we provide frequently includes links to clinical studies and reputable journal articles, and we encourage visitors to do further research outside of our site. We also encourage visitors to discuss the content of our site with their surgeon and/or primary care physician.
Dr. Hodges is a board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeon with more than 25 years of clinical experience. He has completed over 15,000 spine surgeries throughout his career, with a special interest in spine motion preservation techniques. Dr. Hodges entered private practice in 1994 with the Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he works alongside a team of medical professionals specializing in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.
Dr. Craig Humphreys is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon who has been performing spine surgeries for more than 20 years. In 2011 he founded Kenai Spine, a regional spine center of excellence for the treatment of back and neck problems, with offices located in Soldotna and Anchorage, Alaska. It is the only spine center in the state of Alaska that appears on SpineCenterNetwork.com, the national listing of credentialed spine centers. Dr. Humphreys was elected president of the Alaska Medical Board in 2017.
Dr. Nathan Schatzman is a specialized cardiac anesthesiologist practicing in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Dr. Schatzman attended Harvard College in Boston, then went on to earn his medical degree at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he graduated in 1989. Dr. Schatzman has 28 years of diverse experience across the field of anesthesiology. Dr. Schatzman is also fully licensed and insured to practice medicine in the Cayman Islands at NovoClinic Cayman, with surgical privileges at Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Madera is an expert in surgical treatment of conditions of the spine, including degenerative spine disease, spine tumors, and degenerative deformity. Fellowship trained under world-renowned spine surgeons at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Madera has expertise in all spinal approaches and techniques, including both open and minimally invasive surgery (MIS), endoscopic spine surgery, disc/joint replacement, and regenerative/stem cell procedures for spine disease. She is board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, and currently practices at Austin Integrative Spine in Lakeway, Texas. Dr. Madera is also licensed in the Cayman Islands and practices at NovoClinic Cayman, with surgical privileges at CTMH Doctors Hospital.
Dr. Duff has 28 years of experience in spinal health care. He graduated from Southern Adventist University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing; after that he attended Life University in Marietta, Georgia, where he focused on chiropractic care. For many years he operated his own chiropractic practice, and he returned to school to get his nurse practitioner degree in 2015. He currently works as a nurse practitioner for a spine surgery group in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and also serves as the postoperative care coordinator for BalancedBack®.
Donna has practiced nursing in a variety of intensive care settings for over 30 years, as a nurse and certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in internal medicine, intensive and emergency care, rehabilitation, and acute post-op pain management for orthopaedic patients. Donna currently works in endocrinology, with a dual practice screening surgical candidates for NovoClinic Cayman.
Marcus James received his Bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of West Georgia, after which he completed two additional surgical assistant programs, one in Chattanooga, TN, and one in Los Angeles. He has extensive surgical experience, having started his nursing career in an operating room about 20 years ago. He began by working on general orthopedics cases and some neurosurgical procedures; after about seven years he moved into spine surgery exclusively.
Marcus currently works as Dr. Scott Hodges’ first assist at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga. He also works alongside Drs. Hodges and Humphreys on BalancedBack® surgeries in the Cayman Islands. As the RN first assistant he facilitates every procedure, providing direct patient care during surgery as well as in the pre- and post-operative stages.
Marissa Koscielski graduated from the University of Notre Dame with an undergraduate degree in math and a concentration in neuroscience. She then attended the same university’s ESTEEM program, one of the world’s premier graduate programs in technology and entrepreneurship. Marissa’s theoretical math background combined with her interests in neuroscience, pathophysiology, and the different models of health care delivery led her to the medical space, where she now looks for new ways to innovate. Recently, Marissa played a key role in the conception, design, and development of two medical devices: a syringe stabilizer created to help administer self-injections, which is currently undergoing the FDA approval process, and new rehabilitation technology for lower limb amputees and stroke patients, a project that is in development.
In her clinical administrator role, Marissa works on everything from guiding patients through the surgical process to handling data collection and reporting related to BalancedBack®. She also helps the company maintain regulatory compliance for clinical operations.
A Cayman Islands local, Miguel graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) with a degree in biomedical engineering. In his work for BalancedBack®, Miguel’s primary responsibilities center around patient logistics and inventory management. He does everything from renting cars and booking hotels to keeping patients comfortable after surgery, providing a pleasant overall experience for patients traveling to the Caymans. With his educational background, Miguel also assists in conducting research related to the next generation of BalancedBack®.