Saint Francis Launches the Spine Institute of Connecticut

(Hartford, Conn. March 4, 2013) – Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center today introduced The Spine Institute of Connecticut at Saint Francis.  Comprised of a highly-skilled and experienced team of orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons specializing in minimally invasive techniques, the Spine Institute offers a special focus on the diagnosis and treatment of congenital, chronic and acute spinal disorders.  

Quality care is provided in a state-of-the-art facility inside the John T. O’Connell Tower on the Hospital’s main campus, offering the latest technological advancements to provide patients with quicker pain relief and an improved quality of life. 

More than 1,500 spine procedures performed during FY 2012, (source: CHIME Data) the Institute at its inception is already one of the busiest spine centers in Connecticut, providing the highest volume of same-day spine surgeries in the state. 

The Institute also offers patients the latest in technological treatments.  Spine navigation software, for example, is a unique and highly beneficial technique.  The image-based technology used in this spinal surgery utilizes scans of the patient's anatomy that are tracked by the navigation system's camera.  This navigation helps surgeons guide their instruments for more precise and safe outcomes. 

“Nine out of ten Americans will experience back pain during their lives,” said Aris Yannopoulos, M.D., Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at Saint Francis.  “For some patients, the pain will be so severe that surgery will be necessary for relief.  The Institute offers patients proven methods along with safe, minimally invasive surgical options in the treatment of complex conditions,” added Dr. Yannopoulos. 

Surgeons at the Institute treat conditions ranging from minor strains, sprains and back pains to more complex spinal issues including herniated discs, scoliosis, degenerative disc and spinal stenosis. 

 “We are proud to offer patients this clinically integrated care at the Spine Institute of Connecticut at Saint Francis,” said Christopher M. Dadlez, President and CEO, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.  “With the prevalence of painful back issues among so many Americans, it is essential that we offer this Institute to accommodate their needs efficiently and effectively in a safe, high-tech environment,” added Dadlez. 

Patients served by the Institute receive a full continuum of care through the collaboration of physicians in pain management, as well as physical and occupational therapists for follow-up rehabilitation. 

The surgeons at the Spine Institute of Connecticut at Saint Francis include: 

Stephen F. Calderon, M.D., Neurosurgeon 

Bruce S. Chozick, M.D., Neurosurgeon 

David M. Kruger, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon 

Stephan C. Lange, M.D., Neurosurgeon 

Howard Lantner, M.D., Neurosurgeon 

David Spiro, D.O., Neurosurgeon 

Aris Yannopoulos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon 

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut has designated Saint Francis a Blue Distinction Total Value Center for its Spine Surgery program. 

The Blue Distinction designation is awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality healthcare in the areas of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, spine surgery, transplants and knee and hip replacements. 

About Saint Francis Care 

Saint Francis Care is an integrated healthcare delivery system established by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north central Connecticut since 1897.  Licensed for 617 beds and 65 bassinets, it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England.  Other major entities of Saint Francis Care include The Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center, the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, and Saint Francis HealthCare Partners.  Its services are supported by a network of five major Access Centers and eight additional medical office centers sited throughout the region.  For more information, visit