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Gabor B. Racz

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Gabor Bela Racz
Gabor B. Racz.jpg
Gabor Racz in 2010
Born (1937-07-06) July 6, 1937 (age 79)
Hungary
Residence Lubbock, Texas, U.S.
Education
  • Semmelweis University Medical School
  • University of Liverpool, M.B., Ch.B
Spouse(s) Enid Racz
Children 4
Medical career
Profession
  • Professor
  • anesthesiologist
  • pain management physician
Field
  • Anesthesiology
  • pain management pharmacology
  • emergency & critical care
Institutions Messer-Racz International Pain Center
Specialism
  • Interventional pain management
  • CRPS
Research Chronic complex pain
Racz during a procedure in 2011

Gábor Béla Rácz (born 1937), is a board-certified anesthesiologist and professor emeritus at Texas Tech University Health Science Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock, Texas, where he is also Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Anesthesiology and Co-Director of Pain Services.[1] He has worked in the field of chronic back pain and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

In 1982, he designed the Racz catheter, a flexible, spring-wound catheter with a small fluoroscopic probe. In 1989, he developed epidural lysis of adhesions, sometimes referred to as percutaneous adhesiolysis,[2] or simply the Racz procedure.[3] It is a minimally invasive, percutaneous intervention for treating chronic spinal pain often due to scarring after post lumbar surgery syndrome, sometimes called failed back surgery, and also low back and radicular pain from spinal stenosis, a disease of aging.[4] The procedure is somewhat similar to an epidural[2] and is used when conventional methods have failed. The Racz procedure may employ the use of a wire-bound catheter to mechanically break-up or dissolve scar tissue, also called epidural adhesions or fibrosis, which have formed around the nerve roots, and allows for local anesthetics, saline and steroids to be injected into the affected area.[5]

Racz was born in Hungary and, as a young man, had aspirations to become a medical doctor. He was a second-year medical student in November 1956 when he was forced to flee Hungary after the Soviets invaded Budapest in response to the Hungarian Revolution. He eventually arrived in England and resumed his education. He graduated from the University of Liverpool School of Medicine, and worked in the UK until 1963 at which time he moved to the United States. He completed his anesthesiology residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. He also worked as an associate attending anesthesiologist and respiratory consultant for other hospitals including the Veterans Administration Hospital, and the UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, New York before moving to Lubbock, Texas where he became the first Chairman of Anesthesiology for the then-new Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). Racz is also one of the founders of the World Institute of Pain.

Early life and education[edit]

Racz was born in Hungary[6] to parents with a financially meager background which he attributed in part to his family's resistance to join the Communist party.[7] He attended Semmelweis University Medical School,[8] and it was during his second year there that the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 had begun. After seeing hundreds of injured people, he volunteered to help at the hospital. He said he received a signed directive to drive a truck and deliver sugar to the medical school clinics which he believed motivated the Hungarian Secret Police to seek him out for questioning. He also recalled a shooting incident where a bullet missed his head by "a few inches".[7]

On November 27, 1956, he fled from Budapest to Austria with his future wife Enid, his sister, brother-in-law, and a few others after the Soviets invaded the city.[7][9] He had no prior intention to leave Hungary until he learned from his mother that the Hungarian Secret Police were looking for him. Racz said if they found him, "That would have meant the end of my dreams to become a doctor. Perhaps I would have ended up in prison. Not that I had done anything but many other people ended up in prison following 1956 without committing any crime."[7] He arrived in the Austrian town of Eisenstadt where buses were waiting to take refugees to their new homes. Racz chose the bus to England, and he along with his family and other members of his group were transported to a military base in the Midlands.[7]

In 1957, as a former Hungarian medical student, Racz received a scholarship to attend second-year medical school in Liverpool, England.[7][9] In 1962, he graduated from the University of Liverpool School of Medicine with Bachelor of Medicine (M.B.) and Bachelor of Surgery (Ch.B) degrees.[10]:3 Ian McWhinney and his wife helped Racz get his start as a doctor by providing him with rent-free lodging so he could finish his education.[7] He said their generosity became a lifelong example in that "one must study and pass on knowledge and help the next generation."[7] Racz later served as house surgeon and physician at the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool.[10]:3

Career in the United States[edit]

Racz (center) in a procedural lecture in 2012

In 1963, Racz moved to the United States for an anesthesiology residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York.[1][8] Upon completion, he worked in several positions at SUNY, including associate attending anesthesiologist and respiratory consultant in the neurological head injury unit as well as a consultant for the Veterans Administration Hospital, and the UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, New York.[10]:3

In 1977, Racz joined the then-new Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) and was designated as the Center's first Chairman of Anesthesiology. He held that position until March 1, 1999.[1] His work from 1977 to 2006 not only included treating patients, he also served as acting director of pain services at TTUHSC, and oversaw the expansion of operations and future development of the Messer-Racz International Pain Center named in recognition of Racz's work and the Messer family's financial contributions.[1][11][12] In 2015, Racz held the designation of Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Director of Pain Services for Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.[1]

Throughout his career, Racz has also conducted research and co-authored articles with other experts in pain management to improve diagnosis and treatment of complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS),[13] a long-term disorder of the nervous system which is a challenging pain problem that is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.[14][15]

Recognition and awards[edit]

In 1996, Racz was the first recipient of the Grover E. Murray Professorship, TTUHSC's highest award.[7] In December 1998, the University Medical Center named him to a $1 million endowed chair in recognition of his work at TTUHSC and the University Medical Center.[1][16] In 2004, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.[7][10]:24 The New York/New Jersey Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians awarded Racz a lifetime achievement award in October, 2012.[1]

Racz catheter and procedure[edit]

Racz's work with nerve stimulators, spinal cord stimulators, radiofrequency thermocoagulation, and a wide range of other pain management procedures is being used in interventional pain practices throughout the world.[17][18] He developed new designs in medical equipment and devices.[18]

In 1982, Racz designed the Racz catheter, a flexible, spring-wound catheter with a small fluoroscopic probe.[19] In 1989, he developed epidural lysis of adhesions, a minimally invasive, percutaneous procedure also known as the "Racz procedure", which is somewhat similar to an epidural.[2] It is used to treat patients with chronic low back pain due to post lumbar surgery syndrome, sometimes called failed back surgery, which involves scar tissue that has formed around the nerve root.[4] It is also used to treat protruding or herniated disks, fractures, degeneration[20][21] or radicular pain from spinal stenosis, a disease of aging.[4]

The Racz procedure employs a wire-bound or spring loaded catheter to mechanically break-up or dissolve scar tissue, also called epidural adhesions or fibroids, that have formed around the nerve roots, and allows for local anesthetics, saline and steroids to be injected into the affected area.[5] This procedure was assigned a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code in 2000.[22]

Selected works[edit]

Racz has published in many forms.[23] Among his works are:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gabor B. Racz, MD, ABIPP, FIPP, Grover Murray Professor" (PDF). Kenes Group. Retrieved April 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Interventional Procedures Adhesiolysis/Epiduroscopy". Retrieved March 9, 2016. 
  3. ^ David Kloth, M.D.; Andrea Trescot, M.D.; Francis Riegler, M.D. (2011). Pain-Wise: A Patient's Guide to Pain Management. Hatherleigh Press. pp. Chapter 14. ISBN 978-1-57826-410-0. 
  4. ^ a b c Rafael Justiz; Ramsin M. Benyamin; Pradeep Chopra; Timothy R. Deer; Standiford Helm II (July 2012). "Percutaneous Adhesiolysis in the Management of Chronic Low Back Pain in Post Lumbar Surgery Syndrome and Spinal Stenosis: A Systematic Review". Pain Physician 15 (4): 435–462. PMID 22828693. 
  5. ^ a b Molly Belozer; Grace Wang (July 13, 2004). "Epidural Adhesiolysis for the Treatment of Back Pain" (PDF). Health Technology Assessment. US Department of Labor and Industries. p. 1. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Gabor B. Racz Biography" (PDF). Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lázár, Ádám (January 29, 2016). "From Flight to Fame: The story of a 56er’s difficult journey to world recognition". The Budapest Times. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Open Science Open Minds". InTech Open Access Publisher. Retrieved March 31, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Memories of escape from Hungary still burn bright". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. November 5, 2006. Retrieved April 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d Brashear, Paula; Racz, Gabor B. (December 12, 2013). "Curriculum Vitae: Gabor B. Racz" (PDF). Texas Tech University Health Science Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 21, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Development-New Facility to Expand Research and Treatment for Pain". Texas Tech Today. Texas Tech University. p. 4. Retrieved April 5, 2014. 
  12. ^ John Davis (June 13, 2005). "TTUHSC Breaks New Ground with International Pain Center". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ Gabor B. Racz; James E. Heavner; Carl E. Noe (March 1996). "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome". Journal of Critical Care 15 (1): 70–87. doi:10.1016/S0277-0326(96)80008-0. 
  14. ^ Golovac, Stanley (2010). "Chapter 17: Spinal Cord Stimulation: Uses and Applications". In Mathis, John M.; Golovac, Stanley. Image-Guided Spine Interventions (2nd ed.). Springer. p. 379. ISBN 978-1-4419-0352-5. 
  15. ^ Ranee M. Albazaz; Yew Toh Wong; Shervanthi Homer-Vanniasinkam (March 2008). "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A Review". Annals of Vascular Surgery 22 (2): 297–306. doi:10.1016/j.avsg.2007.10.006. PMID 18346583. 
  16. ^ "Gabor B. Racz, MD: Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Director Pain Services Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Lubbock, TX". SpineUniverse. Retrieved January 29, 2016. ... in recognition of his "greatness in patient care, teaching and research" at Texas Tech University Health Science Center and University Medical Center. 
  17. ^ Phillippe Mavrocordatos and Alex Cahana (2006). Advances and Technical Standards in Neurosurgery. Geneva, Switzerland: Springer-Verlag/Wien. pp. 221–252. doi:10.1007/3-211-32234-5_5. ISBN 978-3-211-28253-3. 
  18. ^ a b Raj, P. Prithvi; Lou, Leland; Erdine, Serdar; Staats, Peter S.; Waldman, Steven D.; Racz, Gabor; Hammer, Michael; Niv, David; Ruiz-Lopez, Ricardo; Heavne, James E. (2008). Interventional Pain Management: Image-Guided Procedures. Saunders. ISBN 978-1-4160-3844-3. 
  19. ^ Racz, Gabor B.; Sabonghy, Magdy; Gintautas, Jonas; Kline, William M. (August 6, 1982). "Intractable Pain Therapy Using a New Epidural Catheter". Journal of the American Medical Association 248 (5): 579–581. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330050061033. PMID 7097904. 
  20. ^ Datta, Sukdeb (2009). "Chapter 87: Epidural Adhesiolysis". In Smith, Howard S. Current Therapy in Pain. Elsevier. p. 630. ISBN 978-1-4160-4836-7. 
  21. ^ Racz, Gabor B.; Holubec, Jerry T. (1989). "Lysis of Adhesions in the Epidural Space". In Racz, Gabor B. Techniques of Neurolysis. Current Management of Pain 4. Springer. pp. 57–72. doi:10.1007/978-1-4899-6721-3_6. ISBN 978-1-4899-6723-7. ISSN 0923-2354. 
  22. ^ Bradford, Billie C. (February 2000). "HCFA announces 2000 Medicare anesthesia conversion factor increases and other changes." (PDF). American Association of Nurse Anesthetists 68 (1): 59–65. PMID 10876453. 
  23. ^ "Gabor B. Racz Publications". SpineUniverse. Retrieved January 29, 2016.