Willard Ahlman – Open MRI

I am 62 Years old and had my first MRI today. Pam Simmons was AWESOME! Made me feel comfortable, explained it all, helped me in and out of my wheelchair, and just overall seemed happy and was very pleasant. Another great experience at OSC! (My first visit with Dr. Carlson was great!) Again, I am so glad that my PCP, Denise Chernitzer recommended OSC!

Aimee Hamilton – Hip Replacement

I have been having trouble with me left hip for over 6 years. My first Ortho in 2008 found a tumor in my ball and socket joint that was creating a popping when I walked which was very uncomfortable. Then in 2010, I was having pain and clicking in the hip again, so I went under the knife for a second time, only to find a labrum tear and bone spur which was causing the pain. Then in 2013, I noticed that I was getting very stiff when I would sit for a period of time and it became painful after a while, so I started seeing Dr. Andrus to get help for what we now know was arthritis! I was done at this point and wasn’t sure what to do. That’s when Dr. A sent me to Dr. Haynes.

He came barreling through the door and said “you know there is only one option for you, right?” And I replied “I’m too young for a hip replacement.” He quickly put my mind at ease and I agreed to do it. I can’t tell you how much better I feel now without the stiffness. I’m still at present healing from surgery and feel better already. I would totally send all my family and friends to see Dr. H for anything. He was great throughout the whole experience. A lot of fun and great personality. Which is what I look for and enjoy in a Dr. Thanks Dr. H!!

Rachel Jackson – Knee & Neck Surgery

I have been fortunate to have Dr. McFarland perform surgery on me on three different occasions. The last was recently when he performed surgery on my neck. His professionalism and performance has been amazing. It has been amazing how my recovery has been following knee surgery and neck surgery. I highly recommend him to anyone. Don’t be afraid – he really cares.

Jerry Laughrun – Hip Replacement

I am 60 years old and live in Newport News, VA. Late 2013, I developed hip pain while sitting. The pain grew steadily worse and I could only sit for short periods. In December 2013, my problem was determined to be an arthritic hip joint. On February 19th, 2014, I had hip replacement surgery by Dr. Boyd Haynes at Mary Immaculate Hospital. The surgery took about an hour and I was able to go home that night. The pain in my hip immediately disappeared. Thanks to the quality of the operation and in-home Physical Therapy, I only needed the assistance of a walker for 4 days and a cane for 1 day. 6 days after the surgery, I was able to walk around my house, including up and down the stairs, without assistance. I was able to return to work 18 days after the operation. I can now sit for a long as I need at work or in a car.

Chuck Walsh – Outpatient, Computer-Assisted, Direct-Anterior (Jiffy) Hip Replacement

I have never written a testimonial before, but feel compelled to do so, hoping that my hip replacement surgery and recovery story might allay some of your concerns and fears. This was not the first time Dr. Haynes operated on me. Previously, he repaired my meniscus and also operated on two of my children, once repairing an ACL and then operated on my other son’s ankle. So needless to say, I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Haynes!

I had been dealing with what I thought was a groin injury that I sustained while running however; it never got any better. My running was now infrequent and I was using an elliptical machine as my primary source of exercise. Eventually, the hip became worse and I was beginning to limp noticeably and was becoming more and more limited in what I could do. Dr. Haynes informed me that it would require surgery, which I put off for an little over a year after he gave me that news. I realized that it wasn’t going to get better on its own and so I decided to have it fixed.

What “sealed the deal” for me was that Dr. Haynes told me that I would be able to run again. I asked if I could have it done on an outpatient basis and he said I could. So, I was scheduled for January 29th, 2014, at Mary Immaculate Hospital. I had to go to the hospital for some pre-surgery tests and all the folks and staff at Mary Immaculate were great. They made it all very easy and comfortable.

On January 29th, I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 AM; went into surgery at about 7:30 AM; was in recovery a little after 9:00 AM and after some tests and some assessments from the Physical Therapists, I left the hospital at 1:00 PM the same day. Again, all the staff at Mary Immaculate were terrific! I’ve only been to a few hospitals but they, by far, have been the best!

I got home about 2:30 PM and was using a walker and doing exercises. Dr. Haynes called that evening and everything was fine. I attended several meetings via teleconference the next day and on the second day I physically went to work to attend a meeting. That following Monday, I was back at work for good. I felt better almost immediately. The only pain I had was surgical pain, which was not bad at all. I didn’t need Home Health, although they visited one time and I didn’t require Physical Therapy. I was back at the gym in 2 weeks and while not running, I was back on the elliptical.

It has been 4 weeks since my surgery and I’m getting stronger every day. I’m doing a hard 35 minutes a day on the elliptical and could probably start running again, but I don’t want to push it. My experience was truly amazing – I am 67 years old and looking forward to resuming my running soon. Thanks again to Dr. Haynes and all the staff!

Janet Bleakley – Life-Saving Alternative Diagnosis

Dear Dr. Haynes,

I want to thank you for all you did for me over the past few months. The therapy helped some, but the pain was still there. You ordered the MRI and that led to a CT scan which led to you recommending I see Dr. Rento. I met Dr. Rento on January 3 and he told me the large mass was 99% chance to be cancerous. Even if not, the kidney had to go. On January 22, the mass and kidney were removed. I came home on Friday, and on Monday, January 24, Dr. Rento called and said the mass wasn’t cancerous. I think back to you, and if you hadn’t scheduled the MRI I may still be walking around with a very large mass on my kidney. Since the surgery, the pain in the hip has gone and when I get up after sitting for a while my left leg isn’t stiff nor hurts. I hope that continues even though I know arthritis is pretty bad in the left knee. Again, I thank you for what you did!

Janet Bleakley

W. T. Guthrie – Spine Surgery

Dr. Carlson is my hero! He has performed two surgeries on me. The first was to repair a bad surgery from another doctor for a herniated discs in my lower back. I could barely walk before the surgery. And I had suffered with back pain for over 20 years. Within two weeks of the surgery (with Dr. Carlson) all pain was gone and I was walking like nothing ever happened! To this day, I don’t have back pain and that was five years ago!

My second surgery was for a disc problem in my neck causing migraines. I had been having severe daily migraines for years. Dr. Carlson ordered an MRI after seeing issues on my x-ray. The insurance company denied the request. Dr. Carlson went to bat on my behalf and did a peer review to get the insurance company to reconsider their decision and they did! How many doctors would do that?!! Dr. Carlson saw where my spinal cord was being pressed by my disc and requested immediate surgery. After successful surgery, my migraines have almost disappeared!

These two surgeries have changed my life. I can’t thank OSC and Dr. Carlson enough!

Michael Noehl – Hip Replacement

Patient Name – Michael J. Noehl – Age 55 – Yorktown, VA
Date of Surgery – February 5th 2014, at Mary Immaculate Hospital
Physician – Dr. Boyd Haynes

Issue: Right Hip degenerative joint disease exacerbated by lower back spinal stenosis/spondylitis of L-5 vertebra

In 2012, I came to the Orthopaedic and Spine Center (OSC) as a follow-up for a second opinion of my back injury that I received while on active duty in the Army. I had been experiencing increased levels of lower back pain and had not received medical care since my retirement from the Army in 2000. I met with Dr. Carlson who recommended pain management and to monitor my condition.

Over the next year, I started to have pain in my right hip. I came in to OSC and met with Dr. Haynes who diagnosed my condition and recommended surgery. At that time, I was very concerned, in fact, averse to hip replacement surgery. I wondered how I could need such a drastic procedure being so young. I told Dr. Haynes that I would prefer to manage the pain and see how it goes. He understood and prescribed me pain medications.

Over the next year, the pain increased in intensity and began to merge with the pain from my lower back injury. I began to take more pain medication and more often. Well, in December 2013, I reached my pain tolerance, as well as my ability for any prolonged standing without intense pain, and I sought out Dr. Haynes. In my visit, he reviewed current x-rays and advised that it was time to fix my right hip. He also believed that he could straighten out my lower back some through the hip replacement, which he believed would help alleviate my back pain. So, I agreed and we scheduled my operation on 5 February, 2014 at the Mary Immaculate Surgical Pavilion .

Through the whole process, Dr. Haynes and his staff were very comforting and understanding of my apprehension and concerns. They went the extra yard to ensure my concerns were minimized. The entire process, from attending the Mary Immaculate Total Joint Classes, Hospital pre-operative admissions testing, hip surgery and recovery was superb. Dr. Haynes and the staff of Mary Immaculate were excellent and provided the best health care I could have asked for. Dr. Haynes met with me the morning of my surgery and again explain what I could expect and that he would be with me throughout the process. He assured me that I would be in good hands. That helped me a lot.

My recovery is well underway and although it is early, I believe through my hip replacement and adjustments I am experiencing less pain from my lower back. I will continue to meet with OSC’s Dr. Carlson for follow-up care should I need to have corrective action done to resolve my back pain.

Erven S. Tyler – Spine Surgery

I had been experiencing sciatic nerve pain in my left leg for over 4 months. I had tried all types of treatment to diminish or eliminate the pain, to include a chiropractor, physical therapy and finally, an neurosurgeon at another facility other than OSC. To my great disappointment, the neurosurgeon briefly looked at my MRI, made a few cursory remarks and said “try oral steroids and if that doesn’t work, get a steroid injection”. I did as instructed but without success. I had no follow-up from the neurosurgeon’s office. I found myself with undiminished pain and no plan to solve my pain problem.

At this point my daughter, who had a back procedure several years ago, suggested I see the doctor who has done her procedure. She highly recommended him. This was how I became acquainted with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. I personally met Dr. Carlson and his PA on Friday, 20 December 2013.

It was a pleasant surprise for me. Using my MRI, Dr. Carlson explained in detail what was causing my pain, clearly and patiently answered my questions and explained that nothing short of an operation would solve my pain problem. I fully understood this now, having seen my MRI.

Because of a previously scheduled procedure cancellation, I was able to have my operation three days later on 23 December. The OSC staff very efficiently scheduled the pre-operation tests needed to get me ready for my Monday operation in what must have been record time!

All went very well and my recovery and follow-up meetings with Dr. Carlson assured me I was healing properly.

I don’t remember the name of Dr. Carlson’s PA, but she was equally efficient and helpful and deserves recognition. (Tonia Yocum, PA)

Finally, I would recommend OSC and Dr. Carlson in particular, to anyone having issues similar to what I had experienced.

For me, it was my Christmas present!!

Herman Gibbs – Spine Surgery

Coming from a long line of men who made their living on the water – his father was captain of a fishing trawler – Herman “Skip” Gibbs first injured his neck more than forty years ago when he dove into shallow water as a teenager. He went to the doctor after the accident and got muscle relaxers, he remembers, but because he grew up in a family where men weren’t supposed to be weak, he didn’t complain much when the pain didn’t resolve. “It wasn’t uncommon to just accept things,” he says, “men especially.” He’d talk briefly to his personal physician from time to time if the pain got worse, but by and large, he learned to accept it.

And after learning to accept the pain, Skip spent the next several years learning to adjust to it. He devised his own treatment: he’d double up a towel and wrap it around his neck when it got bad; then he began wearing a foam cervical collar whenever the pain became extreme. And he took over-the-counter medications like Tylenol. “I just didn’t push the issue,” he says.

But as he got older, and began to explore a series of strenuous occupations, it began bothering him more and more. “I’ve done a little of everything to earn a living,” he says, “all of it physically demanding.” He took a job with the fire department early on, working fires as well as the ambulance unit, where he even delivered babies. He liked the work well enough, but the pay wasn’t great, so he decided to go into “the family business” – to become a tugboat captain.

In those days, Capt. Gibbs says, there were no courses and no technology to teach an aspiring seaman how to operate a tugboat. He almost literally taught himself the rules of the harbor, doing a journeymanship for three years. “Coming from a family of watermen, I had a head start,” he concedes, “but we had no simulators. We learned on the water.”

Learning on the water may have been easy for Skip, but with his injury, life on a tugboat was far from it. He continued to use the collar and over-the-counter analgesics to ease the pain, but “…my neck would be aggravated by any little thing,” he says. “On the sea, if I was working on a boat with low hatches and bump my head, that would set it back again. It would flare up and become increasingly uncomfortable.”

That’s not surprising: a tugboat’s top speed of 6 to 9 knots may make the ride look gentle from the dock, but tugs move huge ships that are full of cargo – they move barges laden with heavy, bulk materials – often in rough seas that could jostle his neck severely. “At first, the pain was tolerable,” he says, “because I would just hyperextend my neck with one of those collars, and after a couple of days, it would start to improve.” He dealt with the pain for forty years, but it progressed, until “the last ten years were the worst,” Skip admits. And one day, it became too much to bear.

“I was working in New Jersey, longer stretches than normal,” he says. “It got so bad I didn’t feel I could use my arm.” The seasoned captain, who had learned early on to accept pain, finally told his boss, “You gotta get me off the boat – I’m in too much pain.”

Knowing the captain was no complainer, Skip’s employer took his request seriously, and referred him to his personal chiropractor. “She took one look at me and said she wasn’t going to touch me until I had an MRI,” Skip remembers. “That’s how I found Orthopaedic & Spine Center.”

He had the MRI and met with Dr. Carlson in September of 2010. “Capt. Gibbs had done all the regular things that people do to try to stay away from the surgeon,” Dr. Carlson recalls. “But by the time I saw him, he was having a lot of numbness and pain going down into his shoulder blade, as well as down into his fingers. The MRI showed that he had two large disc herniations in his neck. That explained the pain and dysfunction in his arm.” Dr. Carlson continues, “It’s no wonder he wasn’t able to perform his duties. You can’t even think straight when you have the kind of pain he was experiencing.”

At that point, Capt. Gibbs knew, a decision had to be made. Dr. Carlson had thoroughly explained his options: he could try medication, either pills or injections. He could continue with chiropractic-assisted therapy – or he could undergo surgery. “He gave me a DVD to look at and to discuss with my wife,” Skip remembers. “I asked a thousand questions, and we reviewed all the information.”

They were both apprehensive about the surgery, Capt. Gibbs remembers, “but Dr. Carlson impressed me. I appreciated his straight talk. He showed me on the MRI how my spinal column was pinched, almost completely closed. He told me I barely had any fluid in my spinal column running between the upper the lower portions – and he explained that if it closed off, I could have permanent damage.”

Skip’s case was further complicated by his medical history: years before, he’d been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, had been told he was borderline lupus, and had a bad thyroid. He’d also sustained a mild heart attack 3 or 4 years before the surgery. “I had a small stent,” he says, “and Dr. Carlson worked with my cardiovascular physician and my other doctors. He really went the extra mile to be sure I was getting the best result.”

His surgery was October 25, 2010. When he woke from anesthesia, he remembers, “all the tingling, the pain, the numbness, were all were gone. After forty years, it was all gone.”

Describing the surgery itself, Capt. Gibbs says, “Dr. Carlson put a titanium plate in there, with six screws. It was a new procedure – he went through the front of my throat.” In fact, he says, “Dr. Carlson is one of the innovators of going through the front of the throat to put the plate in. Formerly, he’d have opened the back of my neck and pried your muscles apart. But because he avoided doing that, the recovery time is cut down to about 10%.” And as for post-operative pain, Skip admits to some discomfort: “maybe a day or two worth” – and adds that he stopped taking post-operative pain medication on day three.

Today, he defies anyone to find the scar on his neck. “The surgical cut was so clean and so smooth that as it healed, it just looks like a normal wrinkle. I actually have to tell somebody I’ve had surgery.” Nearly two years later, he remains pain free.
For Capt. Gibbs, there was another bonus. “I had scoliosis, a curvature in my neck, something I inherited from my mother,” he says, “and just off the cuff, I asked Dr. Carlson if he could straighten my neck during the surgery.” Dr. Carlson said he could – and today, Skip notes, “My neck is as straight as it can be.”