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