LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — A first-of-its-kind back surgery that just got federal approval is now available to patients in Colorado, and radio host Tom Martino was the first in the state to get the procedure. 

The consumer advocate is now back to work and feeling much better.

“It is such a relief,” Martino said.

The Troubleshooter, as he’s called, said he had arthritis and lower back pain for years, and sometimes it was excruciating.

“It got to a point where I was on crutches every now and then, or my legs would give out. I was scared,” he said.

But instead of a spinal fusion, which limits mobility, Martino opted for something new, which just won approval from the Food and Drug Administration. He got his facet joint replaced by a new device called TOPS.

Patient says pain relief ‘instant’ after surgery

Dr. Joshua Beckman performed the surgery at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.

“It’s a really phenomenal therapy that has just come out, and we are quite excited to see how it does long-term,” Beckman said.

TOPS surgery, the doctor said, could be an option for other healthy, active people with chronic low back pain and sciatic pain.

It’s a big surgery, but Martino was up and walking on the same day and said he can’t believe his pain is gone.

“Was it instant? Absolutely! You free the nerve. There’s nothing to cause the pain,” he said.