Testimonials: Spine – Cervical (Neck) Fusion

Margaret Boone – Cervical Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in the ORI had cervical spinal fusion in April of 2017… Dr Carlson was very professional and a calming presence prior to the surgery. My neck and arm pain are gone except for occasional instances when I have some tingling, but I think in time it will recede. I was out of work for two weeks after the surgery.

I am now ready to get surgery on my lower back and feel confident that this surgery will go as well as the neck surgery and I will gain mobility back and can return to a more active life.

Thank you Dr. Carlson for your excellent care.

Margaret Boone


J. Joseph – Cervical Disc Fusion Surgery & Physical Therapy

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonExcellent group of doctors, assistants, and wonderful physical therapy team!

I had been referred to see an orthopedic surgeon. So I did some research online and came across a few in Hampton Roads. After reading the reviews and testimonials from the different practices, my decision was made and I chose to go with OSC.

On my first appointment, options were discussed and the worst case scenario was given. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson requested a better imaging scan done so that he could fully assess what my situation was. I ended up having to have a bone fusion done in my neck due to some ruptured discs. I had no idea I had a ruptured disc! Thought it was just muscle problems. The issue was so bad, we had no alternative. I was beginning to have problems walking, getting up from a seated position, losing strength in my hands and arms, and some other issues associated with it.

After my surgery, almost immediately I had the strength back in my hands and I could get up without a problem again. You are out the same day as your surgery. Dr. Carlson made sure to try to reassure you a bit right before your surgery and does come check on you while you are in recovery. The follow up appointments he wants to know your progress and any issues you may be having.

Over a year later, the bones have mended nicely and the fusion has taken place well. No real problems from it besides the cold weather. Neck wear is a must in colder temps!

Physical therapy helped a great deal in getting mobility and flexibility back. The key thing is that you have to tell them what is going on. They can guide you and help, but without feedback, they can not zero in on problem areas. You’ve got to let them know where it is bothering you and if a certain movement helps or hinders you. If you feel you need continued therapy when it gets near your release time, speak up. They will do their best to help you out and get you back on your feet again.

I would recommend this practice to anyone that is in need of their services. They are a great group and also do many things in the community. They carry themselves well, have a wide variety of collective knowledge and the best thing they have, that is harder to find in doctors any more, is that they do care about their patients.

J. Joseph

Harry Szczutkowski – Cervical Spine Fusion

I am a 69 year old male and my name is Harry Szczutkowski. I had to have neck surgery done in which my disc had to be replaced. I have been blessed in a way, that when I needed them, I have found the best doctors in their fields.

Dr. Mark McFarland is right up there among the top of the list.  His skills as a surgeon are first class and he has compassion, and is positive and caring.  He is on top of the playing field.

I would like to take this time to thank you, Dr. McFarland, and may God bless.

Yours Truly,

Harry Szczutkowski

Patricia Ricks-Armstead – Cervical Fusion Surgery

I had been experiencing neck, back and shoulder pain with a numbing and tingling, radiating down my right arm for quite some time. My 2016 holidays were spent in excruciating pain. After many x-rays and MRI’s, I was finally diagnosed with a herniated disc and pinched nerve in my neck. I was sent to see a neurosurgeon who told me that I was not a candidate for surgery and my only treatment option was cortisone shots. I sought a second opinion on the recommendation of two people who had been treated by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, and I am so ecstatic that I did.

He explained to me that the only way to alleviate my pain would be through surgery, because the bulging disc was pressing down on my nerve causing pain and a shot would not help. He said it was like stepping on a water hose…unless you alleviate the pressure on the hose, the water can’t flow through. So, the disc had to be removed and replaced with a titanium plate.

Dr. Carlson calmed my fears about having the surgery, and here I am now, 6 weeks after my surgery, back at work and pain free.

Thank you Dr. Carlson and the staff at OSC. Your professionalism and kindness means so much.

Patricia Ricks-Armstead

Brian Carlsen – Cervical Spine Fusion

I suffered complications (severe numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain) from bulging cervical discs for about three years. During the year before cervical fusion (C6/C7) surgery, I was calling out sick from work, missing family events, and not sleeping well because of the pain and discomfort. I had gone from doing 50 push-ups in one minute to not being able to do a single push-up at all.

After several medication trials with my PCP, we found a combination of two that managed the pain (one was a low level narcotic that required a “pain contract” with Riverside for re-fills), and reduced the numbness and tingling, but no amount of working out and medication allowed me to regain my strength. My PCP and I decided that though the pain was managed, the weakness and atrophy were concerning enough that surgery should be strongly considered.

Several people at my place of employment, as well as colleagues from other agencies, had been to see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson for similar issues and spoke very highly of him and OSC as a whole. He is also highly-rated by several entities when searching his specialty and the Hampton Roads/Tidewater areas on the internet. I therefore saw no need to re-invent a wheel that was already rolling wonderfully and made an appointment.

At this point (03/02/2017), I am about 4 months out from surgery. I have no pain, only about 10% of the numbness and tingling I had before, and my strength is increasing steadily (I’m up to 10 push-ups before failure, but have only been cleared for exercise for about two months).

All the staff at OSC are very professional, efficient, and personable. I never felt pressured toward any decision and was always given the straight facts about my condition, and what could and could not be expected with and without surgery. Scheduling of the surgery was at my convenience and paperwork for my employer (FMLA) was coordinated with ease via e-mail and phone calls. This last part was about the best part of the entire experience, 2nd only to dealing with Dr. Carlson about my condition, as I have had many surgeries and absences from work requiring FMLA paperwork and it has always been most difficult and stressful trying to get a third party to do things the way your employer wants or will accept.

As a result of my experiences with OSC, I will continue to use their services for all of my spine and orthopaedic issues and will recommend them to anyone seeking care within the entire realm of their services.

Brian Carlsen

Click to meet Dr. Jeffrey Carlson or to contact OSC.

John Asby – Multi-level Cervical Spine Fusion & Laminectomy

I have been living in excruciating pain and torment for years. I have also visited the top docs in the country (Philadelphia Eagles Spine Surgeon, Johns Hopkins and many more). They all agreed that my spine was a mess, but some thought that surgery wouldn’t help in the pain I was describing to them. They also differed on when I needed the surgery and how much to fix.

I had recently heard of a local surgeon who had done amazing things and had also first-hand friends describe their experience with him. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson said I needed major surgery, a C3-C7 fusion and laminectomy. I knew what that entailed due to my extensive research. My research revealed that the recovery pain was horrible and major meds would be needed. Also, Dr. Carlson agreed with the other surgeons that he couldn’t guarantee the head pain relief, but assured me relief of the arm pain that kept me up every night for years.

After 2 years of battling a decision and trying many other non- surgical procedures and and medications, I decided to go with it. I had nothing to lose, as I wished for death instead of the continuance of what I was living with.

I had the surgery last Wednesday, February 1st, 2017. That night, I started to come out of the surgery fog and became clear minded. From that point on, I have experienced none of the previous crippling headaches and have had zero arm pain. I have energy and clarity like never before, even under plenty of high power medications. The recovery pain was so minimal, I tried to eliminate the pain medications the day I went home (one day in hospital). That was a mistake, so it took 1/2 day to correct my stupidity and get back on track.


(This photo shows the gravity of the surgery).

It has now been 6 days and I am on half of the prescribed pain meds and really have incredible energy and no pain. This is very hard to believe and my family is so thankful to God for giving us Dr. Carlson.

P.S.   As an engineer, I research everything. I looked at Dr. Carlson’s resume and it is quite impressive academically, but the testimonies of the folks I spoke with are the real proof. He could probably serve at any of the big names like Mayo, Johns Hopkins, etc., if he wished. I am so glad he didn’t choose that path.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank You, and most of all, Thanks to God!

John Asby

Helen Nichols – Cervical Spine Fusion Surgery


In August 2016, I had cervical spine fusion. I was afraid to have the surgery. I attended a lecture in July 2016 that Dr. Carlson gave on “Managing Neck, Back, and Limb Pain: Treatments from Disc Replacements to Fusion.” Dr. Carlson answered a lot of questions about fusion in a way that I could understand.

I had the surgery and it was better than I expected. Very little pain, and I was amazed at how fast I felt better and could get up and around. Thank you, Dr. Carlson!

Helen Nichols 

Cynthia Hayes – Cervical Spine Fusion



Hello!  My name is Cynthia Hayes and my physician’s name is Jeffrey R. Carlson, of the Orthopaedic & Spine Center (OSC).

Here is a little bit of information on how I ended up there:

Back in the winter months of 2015, I developed pain down my right arm, from the shoulder and down to my hand.  The pain was so severe that it caused me to awaken just about every night or should I say, early in the AM.  It seemed no matter how I tried to get rid of it, it just continued to get worse.  Even to the point that I shed tears at times.  So, now I know I really have to do something about this.

Dr. Carlson was my mother’s physician and is how I found him.  I proceeded to become a patient of his.  I can honestly say was very thoughtful and examined my situation to the fullest.  I was supposed to go to another facility first but that failed and now I know I was blessed to be at OSC.  After having a nerve test and an ultrasound, Dr. Carlson discovered I had a bulging disk pressing on my spinal cord.

Well, I ended up having surgery on August 13, 2015.  Today, I can proudly say it was very successful, because I am pain free!!!  Since my surgery, I have had several follow up appointments and I am recovering quite well.  So many, many thanks to Dr. Carlson that I can now lead a normal life again!

Cynthia Hayes


Linda Marks – Spinal Cord Stimulator for Pain Management



I have had back problems and pain for a long time. Sometimes the pain would be so bad, I could barely walk.  I saw Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at OSC and he diagnosed me with many different spine issues. We tried treating these problems conservatively, but I wasn’t getting better. As a result, I finally had to have three different fusion surgeries, one in my neck and two in my lower back, spaced a few years apart. The surgeries helped keep me going and able to work and Dr. Carlson did a great job.  However, I continued to have pain because surgery couldn’t fix everything that was wrong.  I was also having pain in my knees and all over my body.  Dr. Carlson referred me to Dr. Jenny Andrus who does Pain Management.


Dr. Andrus diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and gave me medication which helped. She gave me an injection for my knee pain. However, I continued to have bad pain in my lower back which again was causing issues for me when I stood at work or tried to walk.  Dr. Andrus never gave up and continued to try different therapies to help me.  Finally, she suggested I try Spinal Cord Stimulation.  I agreed.


Dr. Carlson permanently implanted the Spinal Cord Stimulator on April 13th.  It has been amazing how it has really worked for me.  I would say my pain has been reduced by 75-80%.  I can now enjoy going outside again and being with my husband, as well as working without being in agony.  I am truly thankful to both Dr. Carlson and Dr. Andrus for helping me walk again without hurting.

Linda Marks.

Jean P. Dennis – Cervical Spine Fusion Surgery


I am a 70 year old female. I suffered every day for over 3 1/2 years with what I will call varying types of head pain; not headaches. Over that time period I saw seven different Orthopedists and Neurologists including ones associated with Duke University and The University of Virginia. I was prescribed at least 12 different medications. I had sleep studies and tried a CPAP machine, which actually made the pain worse. I went through physical therapy. I had steroid injections into my neck. I received brief short term relief. Fully frustrated, my PCP attempted to get me into pain management. I was turned down by two pain management groups. They didn’t treat “head pain”!

A friend at church told me that he had had treatment at the Orthopedic and Spine Center Pain Management in Newport News. I called the center and was told I needed to be seen by one of the Orthopedists there. I was given an appointment immediately. The day of my appointment I met Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. My life changed. He immediately diagnosed my problem and within a couple of weeks I had Cervical Fusion surgery. I have been PAIN FREE since August 14, 2015.

Coming up on my 1 year ” PAIN FREE ANNIVERSARY”!. Dr. Carlson has literally given me my life back. I would like to thank everyone on the staff for their professional and caring assistance.

Dr. Carlson, to you I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude.

Jean P. Dennis