Minimally Invasive Back Surgery – The Nebraska Medical Center


That felt great. It did, it really felt good.
A lot of anticipation. I was miserable, absolutely miserable. I gave
up golf, I gave up hunting, I gave up working around the house, I was paying people to mow
my lawn and shovel my sidewalk. It was 1995 when I actually ruptured the disc
or caused the disc to bulge. I was riding on that side nerve and giving me a lot of
pain. I asked my family physician to give me a referral
to a surgeon and he referred me to Dr. Lennarson and I was very at ease the minute I met him.
Obviously, he knew exactly what he was talking about. He gave me the options of how they
could perform the surgery. For other traditional surgeries where we want
to remove that disc and fuse the spine, it’s frequently done making an abdominal incision,
which does create a lot more pain initially and also a longer recovery. In this procedure, we take advantage of the
natural space between the abdominal cavity where all the bowels are and the spine itself.
And we can navigate that really without disrupting much of anything, get to the spine and then
do the work we need all through an incision about an inch long, which really speeds recovery.
In this procedure, even though we’re working on the front of the spine, the patient is
on their stomach for the entire procedure and through the small incision down here by
the tailbone, we navigate up in front of the spine and end up creating a channel through
the front of the spine into that disc. And then, just through a very small tube, end
up initially putting our bone graph into where that disc used to be and then are able to
pass one of these threaded rods up through that area where the disc was to firmly fix
those bones together. So that’s what this looks like on an x-ray. The surgery was an absolute success. I think
I knew the minute I woke up and I was only in the hospital for a couple days. I was up
walking later the same day. This wouldn’t fit everybody’s problem,
even if it looks like it might be a good procedure for a particular problem, you also have to
consider the anatomy and other factors that relate more to safety of the procedure. It
really does need to be planned carefully and make sure that all of the different pieces
fall into place to make it a safe and effective treatment. My last appointment with Dr. Lennarson; the
x-rays have shown the bone growth and everything, and basically told me I was pretty much good
to try anything I wanted and I brought up the mention of golf and he said, “Well,
I’m not going to tell you no, but the twisting is probably the most stressful thing.” And
he told me it’d be 9-to-12 months before the bone fully grew in and everything. And
I thought, wow, I’ve basically given it up for two years; what’s a few more months?
So I figured I would wait. March 31st will be the anniversary of the surgery, so April
1st I will be on the course. Well, my farness was good. My towardness was
off. Just to be able to get out and do this. I’ve
played a lot of golf in the past, so to be able to get back to that. It’s really one
of my main hobbies.

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