Testimonials: Spine – Lumbar Fusion

In Suk Bolton – Multi-level Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

Image of In Suk Bolton and her son

Hello there everyone, my name is Ms. In Suk Bolton from Hampton, Virginia. My physician’s name is Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center in Newport News, Va.

The reason that I went to see him was because, for over 5+ years, I have been battling and dealing with really bad Sciatic Nerve Pain, which was the result of having no bone cartilage in between my 4 lower lumbar discs in the spinal column. As a result, the spinal cord was being pressed and rubbed which was causing me to have the really bad Sciatic Nerve Pain in my back and which went all the way down to my right foot.

I used to get Epidural Steroid Injections done at Sentara Pain Management and in the end, they weren’t helping my problem. So, I decided to go see Dr. Carlson at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center thanks to one of my co-workers recommending him and I must say that all the staff and nurses are very kind. Spoke with Dr. Carlson and explained what was going on with my Spinal Column and asked what options were available.

Dr. Carlson stated that he would recommend surgery and a process that was called Spinal Fusion Surgery, where basically they replace the bad disks that were causing pressure and discomfort on my Sciatic Nerve and would fuse with metal rods and bolts. I was at first very scared and very nervous, but thankfully, I had my son here and Dr. Carlson both helped to keep me at ease.

After having the surgery, I look back and I am glad and very grateful in Dr. Carlson for fixing me up. Now I must say that I have no more Sciatic Nerve Pain in my leg anymore and thanks to the Spinal Fusion Procedure, my Spinal Cord is now straight and I can now say that … “I have my life back!” At first, 1st week is the toughest week after surgery because of being in pain but afterwards, the 2nd week and on it get’s much easier. Do not lose faith or hope. It does get much better, trust me.

If anyone is going through Sciatic Nerve Pain and thinking about getting surgery, I highly recommend Dr. Carlson. He is one of the very best and will explain everything in a calm manner and help put you at ease. Thank you to everyone at Orthopaedic & Spine Center for giving me my life back!!!

 

Dorian Johnson – Outpatient Lumbar Spine Surgery for Pinched Nerve

I was suffering with back pain for about three years from a pinched nerve. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson gave me an option that would relieve my back pain issue. I had the laser surgery done on 3/25/19. I am now pain free, with the help of surgery and physical therapy.

I feel free of pain. I want to thank Dr. Carlson for a job well done.

Dorian J. Johnson

John Thomas – Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in the OR(Photo of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in the OR)

I am an active volunteer, kayaker, and skier. A year and a half ago, I was having serious hip pain and nightly leg cramps, sometime lasting for more than an hour. My first x-ray identified a ruptured spinal disc. The recommendation for me was to go to rehab or a chiropractor, but things did not improve.

Dr. Jeffrey Carlson came recommended to me. After several visits with him, it became obvious that surgery was the answer. On January 2nd, I had 10 screws, 2 rods and a spacer installed in my lumbar spine. I was positive on January 3rd, I’d made the wrong decision.

It is now 8 weeks later and I am walking without pain. I am biking, kayaking and best of all, I have not had one leg cramp. I am not discomfort free all the time, but I suspect more improvement as I continue exercising. I am planning my 2020 ski trip.

John Thomas

Mark Buckley – Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonI was having increased low back pain and difficulty with my legs, causing balance and gait problems. I had been to two other orthopedic surgeons, who stated the required surgery would mean possibly 3-6 months out of work.

I was referred to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, who, after several rounds of x-rays, determined I had a problem that was missed by the other surgeons. The required surgery was a lumbar 3 to 4 fusion, completed as an outpatient.

My recovery has been quick, and I am pain free in my lower back, and, with the help of physical therapy, increasing mobility and strength returning to my legs. I would highly recommend Dr. Carlson for orthopedic spinal concerns.

Mark Buckley 

Kyle Haymes – Physical Therapy After Spinal Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jamie SwaleI had a lumbar spinal fusion surgery in August 2018 at OSC with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. He referred me to OSC Physical Therapy with Dr. Jamie Swale and Victoria Skay. These women were great. They listened to my concerns and goals as I wanted to get back to my active lifestyle quickly. The balance between being careful but still challenging was perfect and they got me back to running and swinging a golf club within 6 weeks.

I am five months post-surgery and still using the stretches and exercises they shared with me during my PT. I could not have been more pleased with the entire OSC staff and especially Jamie and Victoria.

Kyle Haymes

Ileana Geary – Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

 

I TRAVELED ALL THE WAY FROM FLORIDA TO SEE DR. JEFFREY CARLSON.

I am a 23 year old, active female who enjoys going to the gym several times a week. I began having lower back pain in November of 2017. I had already gone through back surgery for a herniated disc at L4-L5 when I was 17 (also done by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson), so as soon as I felt the slightest twinge in my back, I made sure to rest and try to allow my back to recover. For 2 months, I refrained from any intense work outs, did various stretches, and tried home remedies like heating pads and ibuprofen.

In January 2018, I finally decided it was time to see a doctor. I live in Florida now, so I went to a doctor in Orlando.

I spent the next 8 MONTHS enduring a plethora of different treatments, ranging from medications to back braces to multiple intraspinal injections ordered by the doctor in Florida. They even did an MRI which showed a herniated disc, but the doctor kept telling me I am “too young to be in pain” and “it’s not bad enough to operate”.  Meanwhile, my pain level kept rising to the point where it was debilitating. No position was comfortable. I started not being able to work, since I work at a desk in a seated position all day long. I hobbled around like an 85 year old woman. The nerve pain was so sharp I would scream sometimes. I cried often.

By May, I realized the doctor I was seeing in Florida did not care about my well being and my quality of life the way Dr. Carlson does, so I got on a plane and flew to Virginia.

During my first appointment with Dr. Carlson, he asked me to sit in a chair, extend my leg as straight as possible (which was not much due to the excruciating nerve pain), and lift my toes toward me. I was in complete shock when my toes did not move or twinge a bit. He said this is a clear, physical sign that a nerve is being pinched and that if it has been going on for more than 6 months, they begin to worry about permanent nerve damage. The doctor in Florida should never have let my herniation go untreated for that long. Dr. Carlson not only saw that I needed surgery, but that I needed it as soon as possible, considering that the doctor in Florida had already been seeing me for 8 months. He set me up for another MRI so we could get an updated image of what was going on in my back and scheduled me for surgery. I ended up having a herniated disc at L5- S1, a completely different site from my previous back injury when I was 17. Dr. Carlson did a lumbar fusion back in June 2018 and today (January 2019) I am happy, healthy, and out of pain!

Dr. Carlson listens. He cares, and he absolutely takes his patients’ quality of life seriously. He is skilled in his work and takes his time with his patients. I can not begin to thank him enough for giving me back my life. He is an incredible doctor and I 100% recommend him.

Ileana Geary

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