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Ellen’s Surgery

We’ve all heard the phrase, “leave a lasting impression,” but we tend to forget that a lasting impression isn’t always a positive one. This was the case for Ellen, who was experiencing severe back pain after receiving a spinal fusion in 2005.  The staff at her doctor’s office wouldn’t listen to her when she told them how much pain she was feeling during recovery. This negative experience prevented her from seeking help when her back pain persisted and subsequently caused a radiating pain that ran down her leg.

“After my surgery, I continued to suffer many years with severe back pain and was afraid to seek help from another surgeon because of my past experience,” she said. “I slowly progressed to using a cane and sometimes I even used a walker to get around.”

Faced with such debilitating discomfort, Ellen finally came to the Spine Health Institute to receive pain management injections with Dr. Brian Jager. But when injection therapy failed to bring the relief she desperately needed, Dr. Jager referred her to Dr. Chetan Patel for further options. Upon looking at her test results, Dr. Patel diagnosed Ellen with scoliosis, herniated discs, lumbar stenosis and spondylosis. The magnitude of her pain combined with the failure of extensive conservative treatment left Dr. Patel with one conclusion: a complex revision surgery was the best remaining option.

Though she was hesitant, Ellen felt that Dr. Patel and his team had her best interests at heart. She decided to push her past experience aside and proceed with the treatment Dr. Patel was recommending. He performed a laminectomy, a revision posterior spinal instrumentation and a spinal fusion.

From the moment she woke up from surgery, she knew that she chose the right physician and the right hospital for her spine health needs. “A nurse was at my bedside and checked on me to make sure I was comfortable,” she said. “All of the staff understood what I was going through. The nurses, doctors and even the housekeeping staff went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable and had everything I needed. It was the exact opposite of my first experience!”

Fear is what kept Ellen from seeking help, but reassurance from a world-class physician and his team is what gave her the courage to move forward. “I am extremely happy that I finally faced my fear and went through the surgery with Dr. Patel,” she said.  Ellen is now getting her mobility back and her pain has greatly decreased. She would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the entire Spine Health Institute team for going above and beyond when it came to her health care, and for giving her a new lasting impression.