Testimonials: Spine Procedures

Westley Stark – Cervical Fusion and Discectomy Surgery

Image of Dr. Mark McFarlandSerious 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.

Westley Stark

Alan Gunnerson – Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery

Image of Mr. GunnersonMy 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.

Alan Gunnerson

Mark Anderson – Spinal Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonThis 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!

Mark Anderson

Helen Beebe – Spine Surgery to Fix a Previous Spine Surgery

Image of Helen  Bebe and her husbandI am so thankful for Dr. Jeffrey Carlson and his team at OSC.

I had a previous back surgery on the L4/L5 region (lower back) with screws and had discomfort from the start. When asking the doctor about it he said “if your not in pain don’t worry about it”.  I put up with the discomfort, the clunking feeling when turning from side-to-side until I started getting sharp pains in my hip area. When I went back to my doctor, he decided I just needed physical therapy and steroid shots. I did that for a while, with no relief.

That’s when I decided to get a second opinion from Dr. Carlson and found that the disks above and below my L4/L5 region were slipping. We scheduled surgery, he removed the screws from my previous surgery, that to him seemed “a weird way of doing it”, and I couldn’t feel better. I did physical therapy after surgery and passed with flying colors. As long as I keep up the exercises to rebuild my core muscles and loosen my leg muscles, I should be back to normal (which is different for everyone…lol) in no time at all.

Thank you Dr. Carlson and your staff for the professionalism and courtesy shown to me. There was never a dumb question to ask and they were always helpful. I would highly recommend them if you are looking for help with back issues.

Helen Beebe

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.

Donna Leslie – Multi-level Cervical Spine Surgery

I began having major pain in my right shoulder blade area while traveling in the fall of 2016. Once home, I saw my primary care physician who immediately ordered x-rays that revealed severe arthritis of the right side of my neck. Planning to manage arthritis for the rest of my life and refusing to use pain medications, I started physical therapy and began a regime of neck and shoulder exercises to keep my neck loosened up. The pain was manageable and life continued.

In early 2018, however, I began having numbness in my hands and asked my primary care physician for a referral to an orthopedic specialist. She referred me to OSC. I selected Dr. Jeffrey Carlson from website reviews. From the first appointment on March 27, 2018, I felt like I was in great hands. From the new x-rays taken at the time of my first appointment, an MRI was scheduled for the next week and I met with Dr. Carlson for the result the following week.

The MRI revealed severe cervical stenosis, with serious deterioration of levels C3, 4, 5, and 6. That wobbly feeling in my neck was exactly that. The physical therapy and neck exercises I had been doing were not only not helping, but were perhaps putting me at risk for paralysis. It was an immediate, easy decision to have cervical spine surgery.

Since the surgery (following the inevitable few weeks of recovery), I have been pain-free and have full range of motion of my neck. An amazing transition from believing I would have to live with pain and loss of motion in my neck forever, to being pain free and flexible. Throughout, Dr. Carlson and the staff of OSC were fantastic. OSC is run with impeccable, caring efficiency. A lifetime of thanks to Dr. Carlson and the entire staff! (P.S. Since my surgery, I have talked with several people who also had amazing life-changing results under Dr. Carlson’s care!)

Donna Leslie

Rusty Woods – Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Rusty Woods and Dr. Mark McFarlandI injured my spine lifting a small boat engine onto my boat, from a floating dock.   Twisting and turning, while lifting and lowering 60 lbs. of engine on a moving dock, may not have been the best idea.  All of a sudden, I felt a dull pain in my lower back that got worse the more I moved.  Soon, I had terrible pain down my left leg, buttock and thigh.  In another couple of days, horrible calf cramps and numbness in the foot and leg developed.  My leg also felt weak, like it was going to give out on me.  I drive a lot for my job as a financial advisor and driving caused pain.  Even sitting in a chair watching TV was uncomfortable. I was pretty miserable.  My wife made me an appointment at OSC.

I saw Dr. Mark McFarland, who ordered x-rays and told me that, based on my symptoms, he felt I had a disc herniation.   He prescribed oral steroids.  He also prescribed pain pills and muscle relaxers, which helped me sleep because I only took them at night.  He also ordered an MRI of my lower spine to find out if I had a disc herniation or some other spine problem. I had to wait three weeks before an MRI appointment was available.

The MRI showed a large disc rupture in my lower spine.  Dr. McFarland recommended an epidural steroid injection to help ease the inflammation.  I had the injection and it helped to ease the pain, numbness and cramping, enough to make it bearable, so I could work and get around.  Dr. McFarland told me the disc material was really pressing on my nerve and he was surprised I could walk and drive as well as I had been.  He recommended an outpatient surgery called a lumbar microsdiscectomy to remove the disc material pressing on the nerve.  I agreed that surgery was the best option to help me recover with the least amount of downtime from work. I wanted to fix the problem for good and feel better.

Dr. McFarland performed the surgery at Mary Immaculate Hospital. I felt immediate relief when I awoke from the anesthesia. After a few hours in recovery, I went home the same day. I had an easy recuperation period.  I wore my back brace, which didn’t bother me at all, most of the time, unless I was laying in bed sleeping.  The Home Health Nurse and the Physical Therapist that came to my house, both said that I was doing so great, they weren’t really needed. Again, I only took pain medication at night to help with sleep. I watched a lot of Netflix, snacked and got really bored. I felt so good, I just wanted to get out of the house.  After my two week check up, Dr. McFarland released me to drive and work, with just a few lifting restrictions.

In the three weeks after my surgery, almost all of my previous symptoms disappeared and soon went away completely.  It was incredible.  I know that people are afraid of spine surgery, but they shouldn’t be!  I would highly recommend Dr. McFarland to anyone with spine issues!

Rusty Woods

J.A. Faulkner, Jr. – Lumbar Spine Surgery

Image of JA Faulkner in the cockpit of an airplaneIn April of 2018, I began experiencing severe pain in my lower back.  I went to see Dr. Jeffrey R. Carlson on 18 May 2018, after having seen another physician, who was more interested in satisfying the needs of the insurance company rather than taking care of my needs as a patient.

Dr. Carlson performed a through examination, reviewed my MRI, and assessed that the only treatment/cure for my ruptured disc was surgery.  Dr. Carlson was extremely caring as was evidenced during my initial office visit.  There was no rush to have me in and out within 15 minutes.  He made me feel like I was his only patient to be seen that day.  Surgery was immediately scheduled.

The surgery was successful and gave me immediate relief from pain.  His office staff and surgery team were very friendly, caring and efficiently handled all the activities associated with my medical care.  Follow up care has been excellent.

Thanks,

J.A. Faulkner, Jr.

Deborah Gilliam – 5 Star Review of Dr. Raj Sureja

Image of Dr. Raj SurejaI love OSC and the doctors there.  I see three OSC doctors, but I think I see Dr. Raj Sureja the most.  I have a bad back and Dr. Sureja keeps my pain under control…I wouldn’t go anywhere else.  The staff and Doctors are all top notch and use cutting-edge procedures.  I always know that they have my best interest at heart!

Deborah Gilliam

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