MY BACK, A STORY WITH A FUSION CONCLUSION
It began years ago, as many stories do. I did things I probably should not have done, forcing my back to support more off center weight than it should have. Added to those missteps were years (almost 40) of climbing vertical steel ladders of cranes with a heavy shoulder tool bag.
To combat the nagging pains, journeys to chiropractors helped. Within recent years, those chiropractor’s visits did not seem to help. The chiropractor noticed the lack of improvement and asked if I would like a referral. I replied yes. Enter Dr. Jeffery Carlson. After x-rays and a physical evaluation, Dr. Carlson showed me in the x-ray the source of my pain, the cocked vertebrae. He commented to me that we could go whatever route I chose, but the back would not get better without surgery. Spinal fusion of L4, L5, and S1 were recommended.
I told him to schedule my surgery as soon as possible. The date was chosen only a few weeks into the future. An at-home nurse and physical therapist were scheduled ahead of time and my wife and I attended a seminar with the company that was to supply the nurse and physical therapist. I highly recommend the seminar, as you are given ideas for recovery help and what to expect.
And what might you expect? From my experience (and I was told this ahead of surgery) the first two weeks will probably be miserable (and they were) not unbearable, but certainly very uncomfortable. The wearing of the bone growth stimulator two hours a day and the back brace, when out of bed, were annoying but tolerable and good drugs kept the severe pain at bay. I tried to follow Dr. Carlson’s instructions to the letter, and I think it was the good surgery and adherence to advice that ended in very good results with elimination of lower back pain.
Thanks Dr. Carlson!
My name is Tammy. In April 2017, I had a Lower Lumbar Laminectomy (Discs 2-4 surgery) from a different medical facility. Unfortunately, my chief complaint that I had expressed to that doctor (I found out was in disc #4-5) was not treated and I was still having the same issues. So, I made an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson for a consult.
During the consult, he made me feel confident in him about what was needed to be done. The information he showed me concerning my issue allowed me to make an informed decision. I gladly made the decision to have the surgery.
Upon my post operation (post op) visit, Dr. Carlson advised me to walk. I have a treadmill in my workout room, I started out walking a mile a day then, walking/running one mile in 17 minutes (see video MP4 Dec. 04, 2019).
Upon my 6 week “post op” appointment I walked into his office, walking upright and strong. Dr. Carlson was so pleased with that. I’m now getting Physical Therapy to help me get back to normalcy and I plan on doing my exercises and head stands again. Thank you Dr. Carlson, you are truly lead by God, I am so happy with how this surgery turned out!
I am a physically fit, 61 year old female and I had been dealing with sciatica for 4 years. It started with a pain in my left calf. I tried massage therapy, TENS unit, and physical therapy. My GP referred me to OSC. I chose Dr. Jeffrey Carlson because I have several neighbors who had successful back surgery performed by Dr. Carlson.
During my first visit, back x-rays were taken right in his office. The next step was an MRI, which could have been done at the OSC, but due to a 10 day insurance approval wait time, I had done closer to my home.
At my next visit with Dr. Carlson, he evaluated my MRI and anticipated that I would need surgery, but said there was no rush. To get relief, I scheduled an epidural cortisone shot at the OSC. The first shot gave me great relief and I was so pleased! Within 2 weeks, I developed sciatica on the other side. The second shot provided no relief. The sciatica pain increased to the point that I cancelled a vacation and decided to schedule surgery.
Dr. Carlson chose to perform a PLIF – Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion on October 29, 2019 at Bon Secours, Mary Immaculate in Newport News. Just before surgery, Dr. Carlson asked if I was ready to get this Sciatica taken care of and the next thing I knew, I was out of surgery, awake and 100% of my sciatica was gone! I was able to leave after a few hours of recovery.
I am now 6 weeks post surgery. I feel great! I teach 6 fitness classes a week and have 10 personal fitness clients. I was able to teach classes 1 week after surgery.
I have had conversations with two other individuals at my church who also had back surgery at other spine centers. In comparison, I feel my care was superior. In particular, my follow up care includes a Bone Growth Stimulator device that has proven to speed up bone fusion. My two friends did not have this as part of their therapy.
I continue to make gains in range of motion and flexibility through 6 weeks of physical therapy prescribed by Dr. Carlson. If you are contemplating back surgery, I can give Dr. Carlson a resounding vote of confidence!
I am a 49 year old from Williamsburg, VA. I am very active and my exercise routine includes long distance running, biking and cross training. Three years ago, I started having neck issues that eventually caused numbness in my fingers, shooting pain in my neck and stiffness so bad I couldn’t turn my head from side to side. After exhausting all my options, including Physical Therapy, chiropractic care, dry needling and massage, I went to see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson.
An MRI showed I had degenerative disc disease affecting C5-C7. We tried several steroid injections, which didn’t help at all. Finally, we decided on surgery. THEN my insurance company balked and refused to cover it. Dr. Carlson and his staff went way beyond the call of duty with multiple appeals and peer-to-peer consults. They really went to bat for me! After nearly a year of appeals, I was approved for a two-level fusion (C5-6 and C6-7).
Dr. Carlson and his staff fully prepared me for the surgery. I understood what to expect before, during and after surgery. They explained everything, and answered all questions I had, no matter how small.
The surgery was out-patient. I wore a neck brace for two weeks, and followed all instructions. At the end of two weeks, I was able to walk up to 2.5 miles without any problem. I am 7 weeks out now and my activity level has increased nearly to the level it was before I was in so much pain. I am currently in physical therapy to regain neck mobility. My muscles need to learn how to stop protecting my neck so it can turn again!
I hope I never need another surgery, but if I do, I would not hesitate to call Dr. Carlson. He’s a top-notch surgeon who clearly cares about the well-being of his patients.
In the spring of 2019, I noticed muscle mass disappearing in my lower left leg and loss of strength. After going to my PCM, which happens to be the US Navy since I am retired military, I got a referral out of the USN system to see a Spine Surgeon. I picked OSC, even though it is a long drive and traffic is terrible getting there from Va Beach. Boy, am I glad I did.
Got an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson within a week of contacting them, when I contacted some Docs here in Va Beach, I was told it would be at least 4 months.
Got my MRI done, some back x-rays and met with Dr. Carlson. He gave me what options were available. He did not push surgery, but that was one of the options. I selected surgery, as I had been down the PT road and had been dealing with Sciatica nerve pain several times in the past. I felt surgery was the best option to resolve the bulge disk issue.
After surgery, there were times when I had some numbness and some sciatica pain, but after about four weeks all resolved and no pain or numbness.
Dr. Carlson explained to me everything to expect and it was exactly how he said it would be.
I am very happy and satisfied that I used this practice, Dr. Carlson and his staff were very easy to work with and very informative.
I highly recommend this practice. In the past, when I needed some work on my knee, Dr. Boyd Haynes did it and he was outstanding as well. If you want professionals that are also a pleasure to work with, contact OSC.
John De Mille
I would like like to thank Orthopaedic & Spine Center for providing outstanding service. I reached out to Shannon Woods (from out-of-state) with many questions about a potential surgery. Despite not being a current patient, Shannon and Dr. Jeffrey Carlson showed compassion and took the time to answer my questions. Based on I my experience I would highly recommend OSC.
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
Serious neck pain and some lost range of motion brought me to OSC to see Dr. Mark McFarland. Dr. McFarland was very helpful by answering all of my many questions, while diagnosing my problem and recommending a course of action.
After some initial conservative measures, we decided to proceed with a Cervical Fusion and Discectomy. As a professional pilot, I was a bit nervous about such a procedure. When the surgery day came, everything seemed to go like clockwork and the results were amazing. Less than 10 days after the surgery, I was back up flying again. At the three month point, I was given the go ahead for any and all activities. My neck no longer hurts and I have 100% of my range of motion. I even grew a quarter of an inch (LOL).
I am very grateful for Dr. McFarland’s skill and professionalism as well as all the staff at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center.
My name is Alan Gunnerson. I am a 57-year old male that spent several years with increased lower back pain, and over the past two years, extending down my left buttocks and leg to my left foot. I found myself only able to sit for a short period and then had to stand, again, only for a short period. I described myself as a yo-yo; there was no comfortable position. Come to find out that I had spinal disk compression between L4 and L5 and spinal stenosis within the disk area that was irritating my sciatic nerve.
Because I also have an older pacemaker—one that is not MRI compatible—the only scanning I had completed was an initial PET/CT, a follow-up CT scan, and an x-ray before my lumbar operation.
After two 6-week physical therapy sessions that made my pain worse, except for the traction table, and several lumbar epidurals—four to be specific—and an additional cortisone shot on my left piriformis muscle area, I was sent to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson to evaluate my condition. Before seeing Dr. Carlson, I even attended a lecture that described spinal cord stimulation.
Dr. Carlson diagnosed that I had disk compression between L4 and L5 and spinal stenosis that was causing irritation of my sciatic nerve and the only treatment left was to perform a lumbar laminectomy to relieve my sciatic nerve pain.
I had my lumbar laminectomy—a decompression procedure—at the Mary Immaculate Surgical Center on January 16th, 2019. Dr. Carlson removed roughly half of my lamina and bone spurs that were causing the compression of my sciatic nerve. It did not take long for me to feel relief—relief of pain that I had not felt for almost two years.
I was able to go back to work part-time in a week and full-time in two weeks; although with lifting restrictions. At the time of writing this testimonial, I am seven weeks out from my surgery and am no longer on the 20-pound lifting restriction. I am starting physical therapy shortly to strengthen my lower back and core.
Every person’s situation is different, and for me, although I did not want to have another surgical procedure, the lumbar laminectomy worked. For someone that may have similar circumstances, I would recommend talking with your doctor about this type of procedure.
This is a follow-up to my October 8, 2018, Spinal Fusion surgery. It is now four months since my fusion. I was cleared by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in mid January to go about my business, with no limitations.
Frankly, I am amazed at how good my back is feeling. Prior to surgery, I was convinced that I had moderate arthritis up and down my spine, because if I did any exercise, my spine felt like an over-done piece of steak afterwards and ached for the next couple of days. I could not stand still for more than a minute without some focused pain away from the surgical area and the same was true for sitting straight up in a chair.
Now, after each 18 hole round of golf, it feels better and better with little after-play aching or pain, and I have no pain standing around or sitting for meals. Feeling blessed, like I have a new lease on life. Well done, Dr. Carlson!