“Prior to my surgery, I had been fine for the majority of my life,” says Jim Wylie, 39, a lumbar fusion patient treated at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital.
However, around age 35, Wylie began to experience more intense back pain. It progressed for the next four years until it significantly impacted his movements and quality of life.
Nearly a year prior to surgery, Wylie noticed the pain was radiating to different parts of his body and that he was moving differently to accommodate the pain. His back problems affected nearly every aspect of his life, from picking up his children to getting out of a car.
“I was having problems doing any level of continued physical activity – not from a stamina standpoint, but because my back was beginning to hurt,” he explains. “I struggled to get up correctly in the morning and if I didn’t stretch, I struggled to get going.”
After years of discomfort, Wylie tried decompression therapy with a chiropractor. When that failed to relieve his pain, he scheduled a pre-operative consultation with Kaveh Khajavi, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Piedmont Spine Center. Dr. Khajavi scheduled Wylie for a minimally-invasive lumbar fusion for the following week and fitted him for a back brace.
During the surgery, Dr. Khajavi removed the remaining part of Wylie’s degenerated disk. He then created space between lumbar vertebrae 4 and 5, and inserted a piece of polymer that would allow the bone to fuse to the connector piece between the disks. He also screwed in a small cage to maintain the separation between L4 and L5.
The procedure lasted about 90 minutes and Wylie stayed overnight in the hospital. He went home the following day.
How his life has changed
“My quality of life has definitely improved,” says Wylie. “I haven’t experienced anything like the pain I had before I made the decision to go for surgery. It’s been pretty remarkable.”
For more information on minimally-invasive lumbar fusions and other spine procedures, visit Piedmont Spine Center.