Testimonials: Spine – Cervical Discectomy

Dianne Spears – Spine Surgery

OSC Physician: Dr. Carlson
My name is Dianne Spears. I am originally from Hudson Falls, New York, but have lived in the Tidewater area for over 40 years. During those years, the Orthopaedic and Spine Center (OSC) has been a place I could count on to remedy the damage I did to multiple body parts. For example, Dr. Boyd Haynes has repaired for me two rotator cuff and two meniscus tears.

On October 21, 2013, I fainted and fell, hitting my head. The doctors at the Bon Secours Harbour View Emergency Room determined that I fainted due to sinus bradycardia or slow heartbeat rate. This diagnosis was confirmed by a Tilt Table Test (TTT) ordered by Dr. Robert Accettola at the Cardiac Diagnostic and Treatment Center. Dr. Accettola gave me a prescription to balance my blood pressure and heart rate; and, he indicated that it was very important for me to immediately address the increasing pain in my neck and arm apparently caused by the accident.

My first thought was of the OSC. I made an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey R. Carlson on November 1, 2013. During this appointment, it became frighteningly apparent that I was unable to lift my right arm away from my body more than about 25 degrees. The MRI Dr. Carlson ordered at the Open Imaging Center confirmed that joint arthrosis and mild to moderately severe disc narrowing, dessication and bulging was causing compressing on the nerve controlling my right arm from the 5th cervical disc in my neck. My husband and I love ballroom dancing, but I was afraid I would be unable to dance very well again.

However, Dr. Carlson recommended a surgical procedure called Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) that he performs three or four times a week. Although I was overwhelmed by the injury and the procedure, I was reassured by the confidence Dr. Carlson and his staff demonstrated.

Kaye Dame, Dr. Carlson’s Surgical Scheduler described that the ACDF would be performed at the Surgical Pavilion at Mary Immaculate Hospital. She carefully went over pre-surgery instructions and preparations which further reduced my anxiety. She also indicated that Dr. Carlson ordered Personal Touch Home Care Nursing, Physical Therapy and Medical Equipment at my home following the surgery.

On December 4, 2013, Dr. Carlson removed the disc material between my C4, C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae through a small incision in the front of my neck. He replaced the material with bone grafts held in place by a small metal plate with screws to enable the bones to fuse or heal together. To aid the fusion, Dr. Carlson ordered a bone stimulator which was delivered to my home a week after the surgery.

As I write this testimonial, it has been 18 days from the surgery. I must say my overall experience was much easier than I anticipated. That is, Dr. Carlson’s process from beginning to end was superb. My pain was managed amazingly well in the hospital. The hospital staff was very responsive to helping me through the night after surgery, but were less so during the morning shift change.

I was able to stop taking pain medication at home five days after the surgery. I only have a tiny line on my neck at the surgical site that is fading fast. I have full range of motion and I am building strength in my right arm. I am happy to report that my husband and I were able to dance at our Christmas parties this year.

Leonora del Rosario Reiley – Spine Surgery/Physical Therapy

After a subpar experience in every way with another local orthopedic group, I finally caved in to my mother-in-law’s advice and made an appointment with Jeffrey Carlson for chronic neck and shoulder pain that had plagued me for over a decade.

I was amazed at the facility. MRI’s and x-rays on site–no traveling to second locations for the aforementioned tests. Efficient billing practices and fast turnover of workmen’s comp and other potentially frustrating forms that come with the medical territory.

Dr. Carlson’s expertise and compassionate manner is evident at every phase of treatment. I feel confident in saying that The Orthopedic and Spine Center is comparable to anything big cities or famous medical facilities, such as Duke or Johns Hopkins, have to offer. After ruling out every other possible treatment, Dr. Carlson performed an anterior cervical diskectomy that went without a hitch, and I have been pain-free since.

I have also used the physical therapy services at OSC and have found them to be excellent. I underwent two rounds of grueling PT at another PT office, so was very pleased when Dave Durham came up with a completely different routine from those I had been prescribed before that banished my symptoms quickly. More important, I can do this routine easily at a gym should my symptoms reoccur.

While I can’t say I look forward to future dealings with OSC, I at least know that I will have the very best care, should I need their expertise down the road.


Leonora del Rosario Reiley

Jan Holloman – Spine Surgery

Dear Dr. Carlson,

I want to thank you so much for the excellent care you and your staff has given my family. You have been such a blessing to us, and we want to share our appreciation in hopes that our experiences may be comforting and a confirmation to others who are making decisions regarding their health.

Thanks to Orthopaedic & Spine Center, my left shoulder now feels as good as new.

We first met you when you cared for our son after a traumatic fall at his summer job on July 31, 2003, resulting in multiple fractures, breaks and internal injuries. Your expertise, punctuated by your care and compassion, resulted in a complete recovery for Justin, and a return to college when the 2003 school year began at the end of August, just a month later- far above any expectations we could have had without full faith in God’s miracles and in the care Justin received from you and others on his “team” of doctors.

In 2004, I began experiencing sciatic pain. For the next 2 1/2 years, determined not to have surgery on my lower back, I did everything I could do to address it, including receiving more than 75 chiropractic adjustments from two different chiropractors, physical therapy, massage therapy, ultrasonic therapy, and as a last attempt, even steroid injection therapy with a physician in your group. None of these things offered any relief. With your understanding and gentle guidance, I finally came to the realization that surgery was going to be my only option in gaining the relief I desperately needed. In October, 2007, you performed a microdiskectomy on my L4/L5 disk that had ruptured, a 30 minute procedure in which you simply removed the rather large pieces of disk that had broken off and were lying on the sciatic nerve causing my constant pain. I was totally shocked and so very thankful when I awakened from the procedure to find that the sciatic pain was completely gone!

Then in September of 2010, I began experiencing a pain in my throat. I’m an educator by profession for my “day job”, and additionally, my husband and I are professional musicians providing entertainment for a variety of venues during evenings and on weekends. The pain I was experiencing made it very difficult to talk and sing – catastrophic to both of my passions! Long story made short, after 4 frustrating months and 6 doctors later, you ordered a MRI that revealed a degenerative C6/C7 disk and a bone spur and that was pressing into my esophagus. Your staff was able to schedule me extremely quickly for surgery on January 7, 2011. Following another discectomy and removal of the bone spur, I again awakened to find the pain I had been experiencing in my throat completely gone! I was able to go home that same day (though I had been cleared to stay overnight), and even while wearing the “cute” Miami-J collar, my husband was astounded to hear that I’d slept better that night than I had in weeks! I was able to return to the “desk work” portion of my job on Monday morning for a half day, but was back to full time by the end of the week, and even more remarkable, we travelled to FL and played a gig just two weeks after my surgery. I was able to sing without any difficulty whatsoever! Except for a 20 pound weight-lifting restriction, I have had zero limitations. Incredible!!

I can only attribute all three of these success stories to a Faithful Father whom there’s nothing too difficult for, and to the talent, wisdom and expertise of a phenomenal surgeon, Dr. Jeffry Carlson!

I am a healthy, active woman in my early 50’s, so I never would have expected to have already required two surgeries on my spine! I pray that I won’t need any more intervention for MANY years to come, but if I do, I pray that Dr. Carlson will also be there to provide me with the care, compassion, diagnosis, education, and solution I need to regain the quality of life I’m accustomed to having.


Jan Holloman