Trish — Lake Cormorant, MS
I am a very active person, I like to ride four-wheelers, hike, jet ski, mountain climb and go camping. I am also active in my career; I travel for my company. I am a consultant, and I travel internationally. I just returned from Ireland. I am just a very, busy, active person. Last year (2000) in May I was racing in a national ATV race. Really excited, really great, had a super time. But the next day after the race my legs started to tingle. So I thought, no problem, I'll wait a couple of weeks; maybe I just overexerted myself.
After a couple weeks it didn't go away. So my husband said I should go to the doctor, which I did. I showed my leg to the doctor, he ran a couple tests and said, "You probably just bruised your sciatic nerve. You need to relax, not do as many activities and see how it feels." So I waited. That was May, summer was coming around and so I relaxed a lot of my activities. I waited about a month and a half and it didn't get any better; in fact, my leg was going numb. So I went back to the doctor, and again they say maybe I just bruised my nerve. They send me to have a test done on my nervous system. The test comes back fine; it shows there is no problem with my nerve. This doctor tells me again to continue to relax and wait another month.
By this point, it's about the end of July. I drove back home and I still have numbness in my legs, but now I'm starting to have discomfort in my hips. Sleeping is very difficult; I can't get comfortable in the bed. So, I go back and they send me to a neurologist. The first neurologist I saw took some X-rays and realized that evidently I had two vertebrae that were sliding apart from each other. It's a genetic problem, and he was surprised that at my age I am just now having symptoms. I shared with him that I have always been active, so maybe I just assumed it was normal that I was always a little sore. But he was very concerned, and felt that within the next year/year and a half that I would need spinal surgery.
He explained the surgery to me, and by his explanation it would take a year to recover. He was going to go through my back, cutting through a major back muscle, work on the two vertebrae and fuse the two vertebrae together. He said that my recovery would take about a year. Well needless to say my husband and I were overwhelmed. We're both very active; we compete together, travel together and camp together, so it was very disconcerting.
After waiting a week or two, we decided to get a second opinion. At that point we met with Dr. Kevin Foley at Semmes-Murphey Clinic. He examined me and had a MRI conducted. But unlike the first doctor I went too, Dr. Foley had me bend over when he took the X-ray. Because he had me bend over, this time the X-ray showed that the vertebrae the first doctor thought were 25% out of alignment were really 75% off. Dr. Foley said, "Not only do you need spine surgery, but you need it right away, you don't need it in a year and a half." That day he set up an appointment. That was in September, and my appointment was in November.
The beauty of what Dr. Foley shared with me was that the procedure was a type of minimally invasive spine surgery. He would conduct most of the surgery through my belly, guided by a small camera. He would take bone from my hip and place it between the two vertebrae to fuse together and restore my spinal alignment. To access my spine, Dr. Foley took an anterior approach, through my abdomen. He also went in through the back, using the CD HORIZON® SEXTANT® Spinal System, to finish. But, Dr. Foley did not have to cut the major strip of muscle down the back. His recovery estimate was only six months. Needless to say, I was very happy.
As Dr. Foley explained what a minimally invasive procedure with the CD HORIZON® Sextant® Spinal System would involve, he was careful to point out that in addition to the possible benefits of the procedure there also were some potential risks. According to the technology's product information, these include, but are not limited to, transitioning to conventional open procedure, early or late loosening of any or all of the components; and disassembly, bending, and/or breakage of any or all of the components. Pressure on the skin from component parts in patients with inadequate tissue coverage over the implant could possibly cause skin penetration, irritation, internal scaring, tissue death, and/or pain. Additional risks include bursitis; tissue or nerve damage caused by the improper positioning and placement of implants or instruments; and postoperative changes in spinal curvature, loss or correction, height, and/or reduction. Risks also include fracture, microfracture, bone loss, damage, or penetration of any spinal bone and/or bone graft or bone graft harvest site at, above, and/or below the level of surgery; and nonunion (or pseudarthrosis), delayed union, or mal-union.
I had my minimally invasive spine surgery on a Wednesday, first thing in the morning. By Thursday evening, I was walking in the recovery room and by Friday morning I was able to go home. Over the weekend I practiced walking on my own, and by Monday I was able to send all of my family home and tell them, "I don't need any help, I can walk around on my own." I did stay home from work about a month. The next month, in January, I resumed my job and my travel schedule. I was flying across the country and internationally. The surgery was a great success; I am able to compete now. I'm racing my four-wheeler again and riding my jet ski. If I had the spinal surgery with the first doctor, I would still be recovering now. I am very pleased.
Click here to find a doctor who performs this minimally invasive surgical procedure.
It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of the CD HORIZON® SEXTANT® Rod Insertion System with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician's judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.
After reading this please keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, or nerve damage are some of the potential adverse risks of spinal surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information.