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Live webcast draws thousands of viewers

Friday, May 05, 2006

GREEN BAY, Wis., Aurora BayCare Medical Center’s live webcast of a spinal surgery Thursday drew 3,743 viewers, making it one of the largest live-time medical events in the country.

“The local effort here was among the finest we’ve seen,” said Peter Gailey, executive vice president of development for slp3D, which has produced 275 such medical events since 2001 and is the sole provider of surgical video to the National Library of Medicine. “This is only the third time we’ve had more than 3,000 people log in for the live webcast.”

The one-hour procedure, an anterior cervical fusion of two vertebrae in the spinal column, was performed by Aurora BayCare neurosurgeon Steven S. Weinshel, M.D. In this outpatient operation, Dr. Weinshel reached the cervical spine through a small incision in the front of the neck. After spreading the muscles of the spine, he removed an intervertebral disc and several bone spurs. The disc was then replaced with a small plug

of simulated bone, which in time will fuse to the vertebrae it lies between.

The patient, a 57-year-old Green Bay woman, is doing well. Generally, most patients are able to return to normal, but non-vigorous, activities within a few days, including employment for those people who don't do heavy labor.

“This was a truly proud moment for Aurora BayCare Medical Center,” said Linda

Smith, administrator at Aurora BayCare and executive vice president of Aurora Health Care’s North Region. “Not only was it an educational moment for our community, it also highlighted the skilled group of neurosurgeons on staff at our facility.”

Neurosurgeons Max Ots, M.D. and Mark Gardon, M.D., were also part of the event with Dr. Ots assisting with the surgery and Dr. Gardon providing commentary and answering a dozen of the nearly 100 questions submitted online by viewers.

The 3,743 hits for the webcast doesn’t represent the actual number of viewers, simply the number of computers accessing the event. For example, more than 200 people attended a handful of viewing rooms set up at Aurora and BayCare facilities, pushing the total number of viewers even higher.

Anyone who missed the live webcast, but would still like to view the surgery, can watch the archived version at

Aurora BayCare Medical Center is a 167-bed, full-service tertiary care hospital located on Green Bay’s east side. It opened in September 2001 as a joint effort of Aurora Health Care and BayCare Clinic.

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora has care sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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