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SI Joint Fusions Performed by Renowned Neurosurgeon in Western Colorado

Larry Tice, MD, FAANS, FACS, has a job that’s a pain in the neck—and the back, arms, and legs—but he loves it. As a neurosurgeon, his job often is to alleviate pain that derives from conditions of the spinal column. He’s been doing just that for 37 years in the Grand Valley, earning the respect of patients that he’s helped and of other neurosurgeons he’s collaborated with during that time.

Dr. Tice is also the only physician in Western Colorado that performs minimally invasive Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Fusions, a procedure that mitigates pain in patients suffering from SI disorders, including SI joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis.

The SI joint connects the last segment of the spine, the sacrum, to the pelvis. The integrity of the SI joint depends on strong ligaments that cover, compress and stabilize the joint. With compromised ligaments, due to either injury or age, patients experience pain in the lower back, buttock and legs. This can present as sciatica-like symptoms (leg pain, burning, numbness, and tingling) that mimic lumbar disc or radicular low back pain, pain that radiates down into the legs.

“I can’t thank Dr. Tice enough for his excellent care,” says a recent SI joint fusion patient of his. “He doesn’t take enough credit for his life-changing medical intervention.”

This patient suffered an accident in 2006, had back surgery, and then had been using a walker or cane to get around but was in constant pain. When she experienced excruciating pain this past September, she went to the Colorado Canyons Hospital & Medical Center (CCHMC) emergency room for help and was directed to Dr. Tice and his practice, Atlas Arch Neurosurgery.

“I was in tears when I called him,” she recalls. She was quickly scheduled to see him. “He listened to me without interruption and was so understanding.”

“Today, I’m 90% better from what I felt back in September 2015,” said the patient. “I can climb stairs, drive my car, and go for a walk. The pain is almost completely gone.”

Dr. Tice won’t accept full credit for her recovery, though. When the patient praises him, he admits that, “No, it wasn’t all me.”

Dr. Tice started his private practice, Atlas Arch Neurosurgery, in Fruita in 2010, working in conjunction with Family Health West’s Outpatient Procedure Center. Since then, he’s been instrumental in the success of Family Health West’s CCHMC.

“The expertise and cooperative efforts of the Family Health West Administration were very encouraging,” said Dr. Tice. “It was an optimal timing to continue practicing here in Fruita.”

Currently, he serves as the Director of Medical Affairs at CCHMC, often acting as an intermediary with clinical staff and physicians. In this role, he helps develop policies and procedures to maximize patient results, and assists with physician recruitment.

He cares for patients from Western Colorado and Eastern Utah, and offers consultations; treatment for neck, back, arm, and leg pain; as well as spinal surgery options.

Dr. Tice attended medical school in Oregon and completed his internship and residency in Rochester, NY at Strong Memorial Hospital, affiliated with the University of Rochester. He then performed general surgery in Denver at the University of Colorado. While studying under Dr. Gary VanderArk at Denver General Hospital, he decided to specialize in neurosurgery. After a four-year neurosurgeon residency back at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, he spent 10 months in San Francisco completing a microvascular fellowship.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Tice in Fruita, please call his practice at 970-858-2580.