Testimonials: Spine – Lumbar Fusion

Kyle Haymes – Multi-level Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

I had chronic back pain due to a herniated disk for 16 years due to an injury as a teen. Fortunately, for the longest time, I was able to manage the pain with physical therapy and chiropractic care. I live a very active lifestyle that includes distance running, golf, boxing, weightlifting and playing with my two energy-filled Australian Shepherd dogs.

In early 2018, the pain that I had felt time and time again was suddenly much worse. I attempted the forms of treatment that had previously demonstrated positive results, but to no avail. I had seen a chiropractor for a couple of months, but I was not getting the results that I was hoping for. After spending each day and night on my living room floor for three months, I sought care from an Orthopedic doctor in town. He was great! We tried a spinal injection in hopes that it would prevent a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, it was not successful. He was wonderful and referred me to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at OSC, as he no longer performs spinal surgeries.

The first time that I met Dr. Carlson, he was honest, direct, and straightforward, which I appreciated. I asked him if he was in my situation (as we were looking at my MRI) what he would do. I never felt pressured as he recommended a spinal fusion to fuse L3, L4, L5. I was sold. From that day forward, I could not have asked for a better experience. The attention, care, and responsiveness from the OSC staff and Dr. Carlson was second to none throughout the entire process. The day of surgery, I walked out of the hospital and felt like I was 15 years old again.  (See attached x-ray image of my lumbar fusion)

As I write this testimonial, I am five months post-surgery, and I feel great. There is nothing that I want to do that I cannot do. The pain is non-existent, my range of motion is greater, and my quality of life is as it should be. I am running, working out, and I can assure that when the weather warms up, I will be on the golf course. I followed the doctor’s orders and went through Physical Therapy with OSC’s Dr. Jamie Swale and Victoria Skay, LPTA. They were wonderful as well!

I could not be more grateful for Dr. Carlson and the OSC staff. Do not try to suffer through the pain. Seek advice and wise counsel. I wish I would have met Dr. Carlson 15 years ago.

Kyle Haymes

Jim Obrien – Multi-level Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

X-ray image of Jim Obrien's spine surgeryI had been having back issues for about 15 years. I had been getting various treatments for primarily severe pain associated with muscle spasms, which was caused by spinal bone movement. Injections worked to lessen the occurrences, but I still was concerned about the painful episodes happening. Basically, it was affecting my Quality of Life.

I had two MRI’s over a 14 month period and the images really helped to show the degradation of my condition over time and solidified my choice to go ahead and have the spinal fusion needed to fix the problem.

During that 14 months, I also sought advice from two other Dr.’s and they provided excellent input. I had a 3 level spinal fusion (S1 to L3) and Dr. Jeffrey Carlson did an excellent job. (See my post-surgical x-ray image to the left) His recommended recovery time and post surgery treatments were spot on. I am 8 weeks out from surgery now and have no restrictions. Physical Therapy is a good thing to do and I am currently doing that.

My lessons learned from this are that you are in control of what you do for your health. Use the data the Dr.’s provide and get advice from others. Dr. Carlson never pushed me to surgery, it was my decision and I am glad that I did it now. Again, the surgery went well and his team, the hospital staff and the PT team were fantastic. Thanks for improving my Quality of Life.

Jim Obrien

Mark Anderson – Multi-Level Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonBeing a fairly active and healthy 66 year old male, suffering from stenosis, an abundance of arthritic spurs and now degenerative discs pinching nerves, I was once again compelled to seek relief. Having had laminectomies on my L2-3 and L3-4 about six years ago to relieve pressure on the nerves, I was once again having nerve issues as a result of disk issues in the same place, not to mention inflammation up and down my spine. Every time I played golf, or even ping-pong, that kept me side-lined for several days after. Feeling frustrated and depressed, I knew it was time to act. I researched a number of spinal specialists in the greater Norfolk area based on patient ratings and other MD insights, and selected several to visit/interview. Armed with a fresh MRI, my wife and I visited them and their facilities. We came away most impressed by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson and OSC.

Meeting with Dr. Carlson, we agreed upon a course of action for a fusion involving titanium rods from L2-L4 and were able to get scheduled for the surgery in a convenient time frame. We were “walked” through the process by staff members and given all the necessary accoutrements (back brace, electronic bone growth stimulator, etc.) in advance so we knew what to expect going into and following surgery.

Surgery took place on 8 Oct 2018 and went well. The challenge immediately following surgery was that the pain meds did not keep up with my pain in my hips and thighs for the first day. Once that was ok, I was able to leave the hospital and go home. Walking was not overly difficult, but it did feel as if my hamstrings had been shortened. Lying down and turning side-to-side was difficult, but doable. Pain at the point of surgery was non- existent. OSC coordinated with local in-home visiting nurse and physical therapy care providers to come by and assess and work with me.

I stopped the heavy pain meds after six days out from surgery and just went with the Tylenol, as there was little pain. Walking was encouraged and I was walking .5 miles by the sixth day post-op and 1 mile daily by the tenth day. Met the PT goals short of two weeks and released the in-home care Team. The back support (brace) was very supportive and I used it whenever going out for the first month post-op, even though I did not feel like I needed it. Biggest challenge has been getting my hamstrings stretched back out.

At five weeks post-op, I felt like I was ready to go be active but had to check myself knowing the surgical area needs more time to heal. Our dogs are loving the many walks. Post-op meetings with Dr. Carlson and the OSC Team have been informative and highly positive. Everything looks great on the x-rays and my body agrees.

I am now at six weeks post-op and feeling fine, especially nerve pain wise. Still doing many stretches and strengthening exercises. Will I be able to be more active with my back in the future? It remains to be seen, but I am optimistic. One thing I feel very good about, is that I do not believe the surgery could have gone any better, and believe I was in the best of hands with Dr. Carlson and OSC.

Mark Anderson

Robert Anderson – Lumbar Spinal Fusion

Image of Robert AndersonI am a 69-year-old retired male in generally good health who, at the time, exhibited no orthopedic deficiencies. My spinal problem began on Christmas Day 2015, when I fainted in my bedroom, suffering a compression fracture of my L5 vertebra. Over the next year, I began experiencing pain in my right hip, initially diagnosed as bursitis. Ultimately, as the pain increased, it was determined that a piece of the L5 was impinging on my sciatic nerve, and that surgical repair was necessary.

Dr. Jeffrey Carlson determined that spinal fusion (titanium rod and screws) of the L4-S1 vertebrae was required, and he performed the surgery on Feb. 12, 2018. I have had hardly any pain since. That which I do experience periodically is muscle pain, which is alleviated by following the exercise routine prescribed for me. Dr. Carlson’s team does an excellent job of explaining everything in detail, following up on inquiries, and providing full explanations of the follow-up regimen.

I was concerned that I would not be able to return to my hobby of gardening, but, just as promised, there has been no limitation in that regard, for which I am especially grateful. As I have been telling everyone I know, the procedure went “just as advertised.” In my opinion, and that of others I’ve spoken to in the medical profession here in Hampton Roads, Dr. Carlson is the gold standard. I recommend him as highly as possible.

Sincerely,

Robert Anderson

Karen Hershberger – Multi-level Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonMy first encounter with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, a little more than a year ago, was to try and find relief for unrelenting low back pain. A previous primary provider had suggested that there was nothing wrong with me.

On the first visit, Dr. Carlson did X-ray’s and confirmed that the only thing he could do for me was surgery to fix my problems with my Lumbar 1-5, and Sacral spine . He set me up for pre-op tests,  told me why I needed the surgery and allowed for my questions. It was a lot of information to absorb, since I was not expecting to have surgery.

I read about Dr. Carlson in the flier in the office and felt that he was among the best. His pre-op nurse (I am sorry that I have forgotten her name), was also excellent and very reassuring. She told me what to expect, gave me pre-op instructions, for the day of surgery, what to expect as far as pain and pain management post-op. She was right on the mark, really severe pain the first six weeks, with pain management. She was so on the mark with that.  She was right and more pain management was given.

There was Physical Therapy at home for a couple of weeks.  The PT also gave me instructions. PT progressed better than ever expected, they were kind, as well as helpful. I graduated from home therapy ahead of schedule. The PT evaluator told me he never would have thought that I would progress that fast from the initial evaluation.

I had procured my durable medical supplies from a variety of sources. I was able to buy a brand new potty chair from a thrift store, as well as a new walker and shower chair. These were really reasonable ($10.00 to about $30.00). I did buy the elevated toilet seat. Get these supplies as soon as you find out about surgery, you will need them.

After graduating to the outpatient OSC Physical Therapy Clinic, and overcoming challenges with therapy, they got me back to functioning by myself and being independent.  My daughter was able to take off two weeks to care for me at home. That seemed to be the perfect amount of time, to have someone with you after surgery.

Thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, the Pre-Op Department and his other orthopaedic staff, my back has a new lease on life. I am very grateful to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson and his expertise.

Andrea Luke – Spinal Cord Stimulation for Pain

Photo of Andrea Luke and Dr. SurejaMy name is Andrea Luke.  I am a mother of two and a registered nurse.  I injured my back at the age of 32 when lifting a patient at work.  I spent many years in pain.

My injury resulted in five spine surgeries, many tests and countless procedures.  My last surgery was a four level fusion that stopped any further deterioration, but left me with chronic pain.  I became unable to work as a nurse.  Everyday tasks were difficult and I missed out on many activities with my children.  In addition to nursing, I loved to ski, mountain bike, hike and scuba dive, all of which I could no longer do.  Medications helped my pain but did not take it away completely. Plus, I never felt like myself when taking the meds.

I found Dr. Raj Sureja and he worked with me to combat my chronic pain.  We tried injections and epidurals, but I did not get sufficient relief.  He suggested a spinal cord stimulator and after a while, I finally agreed.  My neurostimulator was a complete success. I now take no medication whatsoever.  I work full-time as a high-risk Labor and Delivery Nurse in Norfolk and I live a full, active and PAIN FREE life.  Neurostimulation was a complete game changer for me.  Thank you, Dr. Sureja!

Andrea Luke

 

Salvador Rodriguez – Physical Therapy Pre-and Post Surgically for Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

I was sent to the OSC Physical Therapy Department after seeing Dr. Carlson for my back issues.  The PT Program would consist of one-hour session twice a week for six weeks, under the supervision and care of Dr. Jamie Swale.  However, after a few sessions, the PT was interrupted, after an evaluation by Dr. Carlson of my MRI showed the severity of my condition.  Dr. Carlson decided that surgery would be necessary to correct my issues and I consented to have surgery.

Shortly after undergoing spine surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, I resumed Physical Therapy with Dr. Swale and her assistant.  I must admit that having significant exposure to physical training programs while being a member of the USAF for many years, I thought the PT program would be a piece of cake.  But, I was mistaken.  Dr. Swale made me work harder than I had worked in years.  But the effort paid off and was attested to by the results.

Because of my being at ease with the exercises and lack of pain in the last few PT sessions, the program was concluded three sessions before its scheduled end.  I believe that the swift way in which my PT program was completed is mostly the result of Dr. Carlson’s skill at surgery, my desire and efforts to get well quickly and Dr. Swale’s competence at physical therapy.  She made me work harder and asked me to render my best effort.  My thanks to everyone involved in addressing my condition!

Salvador Rodriguez

Lt. Colonel – USAF Retired

 

 

Nieta Blount – Multi-Level Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonDr. Jeffrey Carson performed spine surgery on me in March 20th. This procedure was very blessed. I had a speedy recovery and the healing process has gone very well, for being less than 30 days post-surgery. Dr. Carlson first sent Physical Therapy to my home and I am now at OSC Physical Therapy.

My testimonial is that I would recommend him to anyone that’s having back problems.  Go see Dr. Carson at OSC!  He’s the best doctor I have experienced. Thank you, Dr. Carlson!

Nieta Blount

Frank Hunyady – Lumbar Spine Fusion

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonThirteen epidurals, pain medication, dry needling, physical therapy… thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, these are in my past. After my fusion surgery, I am free of pain, my range of motion has returned, and my outlook towards future gains on the golf course has been revived.

How many times did I hear, “You have the best,” when mentioning my surgery. Who? My pain specialist (who sent his son to Dr. Carlson for shoulder repair). Golfers I met on the course. Even the surgical nurses in pre-op sung this doctor’s praises. Yet, even with my golf game returning, that which I am most grateful for are those mundane tasks I can perform again. Life is back! Thank you, Dr. Carlson.

Frank Hunyady

Linda Vernell Bateman – Multi-level Spine Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Image of Linda BatemanMy experience at OSC with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson has just been amazing.

In August 2017, I had a MRI in the open MRI at OSC.  The MRI showed degenerative disc disease, severe spinal stenosis, bulging disc, and spurs on each side of spinal canal, involving levels L2 through S1. My back didn’t hurt, but my right leg felt tight and standing straight was uncomfortable.

I met with Dr. Carlson in September 2017. Dr. Carlson told me I needed surgery, but suggested a steroid  injection to see if it helped and it did. I felt great, but it only lasted about a month. I had 2 more injections.

My surgery was done at Mary Immaculate Hospital on February 12th. Dr. Carlson did a multi-level fusion, removed the bone spurs, and relieved the pressure on the spinal column. I stayed one night at hospital. Dr. Carlson and his team were incredible. I wasn’t even bruised.

I followed the post-op instructions, with the help and guidance from Personal Touch Home Health. Margaret and Julie were just wonderful and the suggestions they gave me really helped. I really wasn’t in pain, but I did feel the nerves and muscles in my leg “waking up”, which was a strange feeling, but not painful. Now, I feel absolutely amazing.   I have full range of movement, the incision looks great. I am in Physical Therapy to strengthen core muscles. I didn’t know how much my back was bothering me.

I hope you’re reading this if you need surgery or if you are putting it off, rest assured, I highly recommend Dr. Carlson. I am very grateful to him for giving me back my ability to live my life to my full potential. Take Care of You!

Vernell Bateman