Dianne Spears – Spine Surgery

OSC Physician: Dr. Carlson
My name is Dianne Spears. I am originally from Hudson Falls, New York, but have lived in the Tidewater area for over 40 years. During those years, the Orthopaedic and Spine Center (OSC) has been a place I could count on to remedy the damage I did to multiple body parts. For example, Dr. Boyd Haynes has repaired for me two rotator cuff and two meniscus tears.

On October 21, 2013, I fainted and fell, hitting my head. The doctors at the Bon Secours Harbour View Emergency Room determined that I fainted due to sinus bradycardia or slow heartbeat rate. This diagnosis was confirmed by a Tilt Table Test (TTT) ordered by Dr. Robert Accettola at the Cardiac Diagnostic and Treatment Center. Dr. Accettola gave me a prescription to balance my blood pressure and heart rate; and, he indicated that it was very important for me to immediately address the increasing pain in my neck and arm apparently caused by the accident.

My first thought was of the OSC. I made an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey R. Carlson on November 1, 2013. During this appointment, it became frighteningly apparent that I was unable to lift my right arm away from my body more than about 25 degrees. The MRI Dr. Carlson ordered at the Open Imaging Center confirmed that joint arthrosis and mild to moderately severe disc narrowing, dessication and bulging was causing compressing on the nerve controlling my right arm from the 5th cervical disc in my neck. My husband and I love ballroom dancing, but I was afraid I would be unable to dance very well again.

However, Dr. Carlson recommended a surgical procedure called Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) that he performs three or four times a week. Although I was overwhelmed by the injury and the procedure, I was reassured by the confidence Dr. Carlson and his staff demonstrated.

Kaye Dame, Dr. Carlson’s Surgical Scheduler described that the ACDF would be performed at the Surgical Pavilion at Mary Immaculate Hospital. She carefully went over pre-surgery instructions and preparations which further reduced my anxiety. She also indicated that Dr. Carlson ordered Personal Touch Home Care Nursing, Physical Therapy and Medical Equipment at my home following the surgery.

On December 4, 2013, Dr. Carlson removed the disc material between my C4, C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae through a small incision in the front of my neck. He replaced the material with bone grafts held in place by a small metal plate with screws to enable the bones to fuse or heal together. To aid the fusion, Dr. Carlson ordered a bone stimulator which was delivered to my home a week after the surgery.

As I write this testimonial, it has been 18 days from the surgery. I must say my overall experience was much easier than I anticipated. That is, Dr. Carlson’s process from beginning to end was superb. My pain was managed amazingly well in the hospital. The hospital staff was very responsive to helping me through the night after surgery, but were less so during the morning shift change.

I was able to stop taking pain medication at home five days after the surgery. I only have a tiny line on my neck at the surgical site that is fading fast. I have full range of motion and I am building strength in my right arm. I am happy to report that my husband and I were able to dance at our Christmas parties this year.