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Clay Schreiber – Lumbar Fusion

Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon
Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon

This is the first of two, yes, two, testimonials I wish to write for Dr. Jeffrey Carlson of Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Dr. Carlson has twice performed surgery on me for two unrelated ailments, so you could say I’m a return customer. My name is Clay Schreiber. I’m a reasonably fit, 58 year old male, originally from Newport News and now living in Williamsburg.

In 2013, I injured my lower back by spending a day lifting heavy tree trunk sections and splitting them for firewood. At first, I assumed that the pain was just muscular, but when the pain didn’t subside and began moving through my hips and down my legs, I knew something was wrong. I had never suffered back pain before, although I knew I had some spinal curvature caused from one leg being a bit shorter than the other. I tried chiropractic treatment for several months, but without significant relief. When I realized that surgery might be necessary, I started my search for the best spine surgeon I could find. I saw two other spine surgeons before deciding on Dr. Carlson. Dr. Carlson has an extremely impressive resume and is Fellowship-trained in both spinal surgery and neurosurgery. I was also impressed by the fact that Dr. Carlson performs this procedure in two hours, when both of the other surgeons I saw told me that this surgery takes them about four hours. In addition, Dr. Carlson took pains to clearly explain the treatment options available, as well as both the potential rewards and risks of each. He answered all my questions and concerns and made it clear that it was my choice as to how we would proceed.

For me, the best option for long-term pain relief and the ability to resume my normal activities was a lumbar fusion. The combination of deterioration of several vertebrae, my spinal curvature, two ruptured discs, and two more ready to go as well indicated that a lesser surgery was unlikely to be satisfactory. Dr. Carlson performed a spinal fusion procedure to my lower five vertebrae in late July of 2014 at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News. After two nights in the hospital, I elected to go to a rehab hospital to recover. I walked out of the rehab facility one week later without assistance, which I consider remarkable! Six weeks after surgery, I returned to work in construction project management. Some follow-up physical therapy after that helped fully restore my strength.

My back and leg pain completely disappeared shortly after the surgery and has not returned. I have slightly reduced flexibility in my lower back, which was expected, but it is a very small price to pay for the relief from the constant pain, plus, I don’t have to worry about the pain returning. At about five or six months I had reached the point where I really don’t think about my back surgery anymore.

I can’t express adequately my gratitude to Dr. Carlson, and also to his supporting team, for the care, the professionalism, and especially for the results I have received. Dr. Carlson gave me back the ability to live a normal life again; that is no exaggeration! Six months later when I needed a full knee replacement, there was no question as to who was my first choice was to perform the surgery. Dr. Carlson performed my knee replacement, from which I am now recovering, with the same skill, care, and professionalism as he demonstrated with my back. I will soon be providing another testimonial regarding my knee surgery, but sufficed to say, for spinal surgery or a knee replacement, Dr. Carlson has my unreserved recommendation.

Clay L. Schreiber
Williamsburg, Virginia
Mar. 10, 2015

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