25 Years of Successful Treatment for a Spine Patient
Having a spinal condition that requires surgery can be a very difficult experience. Needing a second surgery years, later is even more trying. That was the experience of Susan M.
In 1980, Susan M. was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in her low back. When physical therapy and other non-surgical treatment options failed to relieve her pain, Susan underwent posterior spinal fusion surgery with instrumentation at L4-L5. “Dr. Akbarnia did a wonderful job using available methods at the time. I returned to work in record time and the surgery left me pain-free”, recalls Susan.
However, over the next 15 years, her degenerative condition necessitated a second fusion, this time at L3-L4. “When my condition returned, the pain was even worse than before my first surgery. I had to give up all the activities I enjoyed including hiking, horseback riding, skiing, running, even gardening. I could no longer work at my job full-time. Even walking was extremely painful. Also, I was taking so much medication for pain, I couldn’t even drive to visit friends. When I reached the maximum doses, and it still wasn’t enough, I knew something else had to be done.”
Susan returned to Dr. Akbarnia in 2004 because of the successful experience she had with her first spinal fusion surgery. This time, Dr. Akbarnia performed a minimally invasive technique called an XLIF procedure, as well as a posterior spinal fusion with instrumentation, after removing her old spinal implants. As with the first surgery, Susan’s second fusion surgery was a great success. “I was only in the hospital for 4 days. The day after surgery I was up and walking without assistance,” said Susan.
One month after her procedure, she was able to resume her computer work for several hours at a time and ride a stationary bike for 45 minutes each day. After three months, she was able to travel; at 5 months, she was able to do light gardening and paint a room. “I am pain-free again and have very few restrictions,” said Susan. “If I hadn’t had this surgery, I wouldn’t be able to do the things I love to do, the things that make life enjoyable.”
“I can’t say enough about Dr. Akbarnia. He is such a brilliant, dedicated surgeon, yet he regards surgery as a last resort. The thing I appreciate the most about him is that his patient’s quality of life is what’s most important to him.”
Susan credits Dr. Akbarnia and the staff at the San Diego Center for Spinal Disorders for her positive experiences. “I received highly personal attention, with all my questions answered and the entire procedure and recovery mapped out clearly ahead of time. I would recommend Dr. Akbarnia to anyone.”