Hometown: Kerrville, TX
Surgeon: Dr. Guy Fogel, San Antonio,TX
Indications: Degenerative Disc Disease
Levels Treated: L4-5, L5-S1
Surgery Date: July 7, 2010
“Every surgery comes with a certain amount of fear and hesitation. However, this is one decision that I am glad that I was able to make despite the fears because it has truly changed my life.”Life Prior To Surgery:
Sue realized she was having a problem with back pain in 2003, when she had difficulty standing on her feet for long periods of time. She noticed that her back was also getting tired while doing activities like cooking and housework. In October of 2004, her niece and her family were visiting and while lifting her niece, something in her back “snapped.” After this incident, her back pain progressively worsened to the point where she was only sleeping 3-4 hours a night. Knowing something was wrong, she sought a consultation with an orthopedic that discovered she had a ruptured disc. She was immediately prescribed surgery to remove part of the disc in the hope of relieving her pain. After the procedure, Sue was in the brace for 12 weeks. To her dismay, in 2008 Sue’s pain started worsening. He back became increasingly stiff and she reached the point where she could no longer bend over. During a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon for her knees, Sue was referred to a pain clinic in 9/2009. They started her on cortisone injections which provided temporary relief for about 2-3 weeks. However, as the pain worsened, Sue began to think that it was her arthritis acting up. Her pain management physician took X-rays and forwarded them to her rheumatologist. Sue was told that she had severe disc degeneration. He referred Sue to Dr. Fogel who recommended the XLIF surgery. Fearing that she was going to be confined to a wheelchair the rest of her life, Sue trusted Dr. Fogel decision and agreed with his recommendation to have the minimally invasive XLIF procedure.Situation Today:
Sue had surgery in July 2010 and walking 1 day later with the assistance of a physical therapist. She did experience some post-op pain in her right leg which was a result of nerve handling from the surgery. She was able to manage the pain through oral pain medication and to her surprise, was able to return home after just 3 days. The pain in her leg was gone after 2 weeks. She started with light physical therapy through a home health service to rebuild her strength. Within 6 weeks, Sue was able to resume most of her daily activities and hobbies. As a precaution, she wore a back brace for one month. Sue was able to travel to Paris with her husband in October of 2010, just three months after surgery! She was able to walk and stand for great lengths of time enjoying the museums and sights of Paris. As soon as her other health problems are resolved, she hopes to be able to resume hiking and fly fishing!
Important Note: As with any spine surgery, there are potential benefits and possible risks associated with the XLIF procedure. Individual results will vary. It is important that you discuss the possible risks and potential benefits of XLIF 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 procedure.