“I’m Back to Doing Everything I Want to Do”
Last summer, Lindsay Peters was preparing to enter the final year of her doctorate of physical therapy program at Stony Brook University when she was stricken with severe back pain.
The pain was in the same area where she had surgery for a herniated disc in early 2015, but it was much worse—radiating down her right leg and causing numbness in her toes. It became so bad that she had difficulty walking and even needed to lie down during her classes.
“I had friends from my physical therapy classes try everything we had learned, but the pain kept getting worse,” says Lindsay, a 26-year-old Point Pleasant resident. “It was clear at that point I would need surgery again.”
A Minimally Invasive Approach
A herniated or “slipped” disc occurs when one of the soft discs that allows the spine to bend and twist bulges out between two vertebrae and presses on nerves. They are generally caused by wear and tear over time, and Lindsay believes her condition was the result of training to run road races.
Surgery is necessary when relief is not found with more conservative treatments, such as pain medication, steroid injections, and physical therapy. At CentraState Medical Center, spine surgeons are now offering disc procedures using state-of-the-art, minimally invasive endoscopic techniques.
In Lindsay’s case, the injured disc was removed and replaced with a plastic spacer, and the two adjacent vertebrae were fused together with screws—all through a few small incisions. The procedure limits injury to back muscles and creates much less scar tissue, greatly reducing recovery time, says Grigory Goldberg, MD, the board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeon who performed Lindsay’s procedure.
“Minimally invasive spine surgery allows patients to get back to their normal lives much faster,” Dr. Goldberg says. “Whether someone is young like Lindsay or older, they want to get back on their feet after surgery as soon as possible.”
With her medical training, Lindsay was not only impressed by the surgery itself, but also with the personal care she received, including Dr. Goldberg’s efforts to speak with her nervous parents during the five-hour procedure.
Looking to the Future
Following the October 2016 procedure, Lindsay had immediate relief from the pain of her injured disc. She went home the next day, and she was back in class in less than two weeks. By early spring, she was looking forward to graduation. “My recovery has been excellent,” she says. “I’m still young and it was important to me to have no limitations at work and in my daily life. I’m back to doing everything I want to do.”